Houston Game 4 thoughts
Anybody who has been paying attention all year knew what was coming, the supreme lack of effort that would be on display in this game after it was announced that Yao was out for the playoffs. And it's not like it is only this year, this went on with the Shaq and Magic teams as well, although this one gives the worst of those a serious run for their money.
Two plays symbolize the Lakers' approach to this game:
1) the first possession of the game, when Ariza is stripped and halfheartedly takes a step or two towards the ball, before suddenly seeming to realize that maybe it could be out on him and making a belated lunge to grab the ball and flip it backwards to Artest for a turnover and breakaway layup to make it 2-0; and
2) With 0.7 seconds to go in the third quarter and the Rockets inbounding from behind halfcourt, Farmar could not be bothered to even wander within 20 feet of his man, Brooks, who just ran to the front of the rim to take an uncontested 50 foot lob and lay it in to make it 83-54.
I could put forth the effort to type up the notes I made during the game, but if they didn't care why should I?
I'll leave the last word to Kelly Dwyer:
When you don't respect your opponent, I don't care how talented you are, you're going to be in trouble. You might not lose, but you'll dig yourself a hole that'll eventually be pretty hard to climb out of.
And when you don't respect the game, well, the same thing is going to happen. And I don't care how much the Lakers talked up not wanting to let down its guard against the Yao-less Rockets, or how much they respect what Houston brings to the table, the proof is in the play.
And the Lakers just couldn't be bothered on Sunday.