Friday, May 08, 2009

Houston game 2 thoughts

Well, that was one for the ages, wasn’t it?

First quarter:
* Odom is back in the starting lineup for Bynum, I’m guessing this is to try to push pace and keep Bynum from early foul trouble.

* 8/10 as a team early, lots of effort on defense and pushing off of rebounds.

* Kobe is 5/6, but just made a major defensive gaffe in leaving Battier and giving him an open 3.

* Fisher is off to a 2/2 start and is forcing Brooks into trouble on the other end.

* Pau is using quick moves nicely against Yao, forcing him into 2 early fouls.

* Artest has hit two 3’s already, he’s on a fluke shooting run.

* The 33-18 start looked like fool’s gold, too many jumpers, and sure enough it’s now 33-25.

* Farmar, Walton and Powell are first off the bench tonight.

* A 39 point first quarter, some in transition but too much of it out of the offense so not sure it’s sustainable.

Second quarter:
* Wafer is off to a hot start, 7 early points off the bench.

* Houston is 3/4 on 3’s so far, bad luck there.

* The Lakers had 11 fast break points in the first (but would stay stuck there for two quarters or so).

* Sasha with the airball, he has just completely lost his stroke.

* Brown can’t handle Lowry again, that just looks like a bad matchup now.

* Houston has succeeded in making these games more mud wrestling than basketball.

* Yao threw a forearm at Fisher and Fish got rung up for the foul, that would have been Yao’s third damnit.

* But now Yao picks up his third off an offensive rebound and clearout, with more than half of the quarter to go.

* We are now helping Ariza with Artest, that is another mismatch that is proving to be a big problem, he’s just not strong enough to bother Ron-Ron.

* A 10-0 run gives Houston their first lead at 49-48, as they are 24-9 for the quarter and 9-0 in free throws attempted.

* Landry is just killing us (he ended up with 16 in the half).

* It’s now 13-0 free throws for Houston this quarter.

* But Lamar splits two freebies to keep it from being a shutout quarter at the line.

* Houston is on a 39-20 run since we led 33-18, and are now up 57-53.

* We have only 7 bench points, and they were +13 without Yao, their bench is killing ours.

* The good news: Artest has 17, which will encourage him to keep shooting. The bad news: Kobe has taken 15 shots, if he takes 15 more we will lose. 57-57 at the half.

Third quarter:
* Fish makes a 3, and is now 4/5 overall along with shutting down Brooks – great game.

* I hate to keep repeating, but Ariza is overmatched.

* Wow, Scola went over Odom’s back to get an offensive rebound then cleared out Pau with his left arm to get a shot off with no calls; at least he missed the chippie.

* Yao picks up his fourth foul with 7:02 in the 3rd. Is he tired? He has only one field goal attempt too, even with defensive changes that is amazing.

* Bad Ronball, but he makes the 3. He is really having a fluke shooting series.

* What a play by Odom…he was on Artest at the 3 point line, then after an entry pass dropped down to block a Scola layup attempt. Wow.

* Artest is having a career game and series so far, aided by that fluke shooting in addition to his mismatch with Ariza.

* Fish continues to whip Brooks tonight, as much as he got whipped on Monday.

* We are 5/14 from distance. Improved, but still not good.

* We have a 12-2 free throw advantage this quarter, making up for the 13-2 Houston 2nd (it ended 14-3).

* Scola got a little rough with Lamar and they got double techs, but somehow Luke got one too for being peacemaker. You never see them unbalanced on those kinds fo plays, how odd.

* WOW! Fish, having none of Scola’s thuggery, fights back with a shoulder to Scola’s chest as he tried to set a high screen. So much for that infamous softness!

Wow, they gave him a flagrant 2 (ejection), I expected a 1 even given the retaliation, and even giving Scola credit for a huge flop in selling it. Deron Williams did the exact same thing to Bynum last series with a 20 foot running head start and did not even get a flagrant, and it was also right after another incident so also had the pure retaliation angle.

At least he won’t get suspended, per the Rondo precedents. (update: He did get suspended for game 3. I guess he should have punched Scola in the mouth or thrown him into the scorer’s table, those don’t even merit a fine. Those idiots who claim the league or officials have some kind of pro-Laker bias must really be feeling stupid right now).

Fourth quarter:
* Farmar is struggling with Lowry too. Then again, can any point guard check any other under the current rules? Hard to blame the defenders.

* Sasha hits a 2! Notable since he was 0/11 inside the arc in the last series.

* We get rung up for two team fouls in the first minute, and a third at the 10:18 mark. They could shoot lots of free throws here. Touch fouls are being called as they try to get a handle on the game, maybe they will start to even out some.

* There’s the Artest we know and love – he overdribbled as we swarmed him, turnover.

* And we get them into the bonus at 8:50, then commit team fouls 5 and 6 at 8:37 and 8:31. Oh yeah, there’s a pro-Laker bias…not.

* Wow, Adelman kicked Wafer off the bench and sent him to the locker room over something he yelled at the coach about, must have been pretty bad. Wonder if that will linger or be forgotten next game?

* We are suing a Farmar-Brown-Kobe three man backcourt against their small Brooks-Lowry backcourt.

* More wow! Artest got mad and went across the court to get into Kobe’s face, getting a tech. Then he gets another for doing a throat slash gesture after they are separated and he’s gone.

Replays show that Artest’s elbow bumped Kobe’s head and Kobe threw his arm out to clear him off, hitting Ronnie in the upper chest near the throat. Artest obviously took it as a throat shot and ignored his own elbow there, but still pretty dumb to get tossed.

* Yao picks up his fifth foul at 6:17.

* Kobe picks up a tech for taunting Battier, just stupid. He did it earlier too but you sure can’t expect to get away with that now after all of this drama. Act like it’s not the first time you ever scored on Battier next time, Kobe.

* They have turned it over 19 times to our 10, which has helped us get out in transition tonight. 8 turnovers in the quarter for them, leading to 11 points.

Well, that was certainly a heated game. Not only do we have a competitive series, we now have a contentious one as well now. Should be fascinating stuff in Houston this weekend.

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