Los Angeles Lakers
(24-20) @ Houston Rockets
Sunday, February 6th
Spurs @ Lakers 103-91 (LOSS)
Rockets @ Wolves 119-113 OT (WIN)
Projected Starting Five
Coach Frank Hamblen
C - Chris Mihm (10.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 0.7 APG)
PF - Lamar Odom (15.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.3 APG)
SF - Jumaine Jones (6.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.7 APG)
SG - Caron Butler (14.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.6 APG)
PG - Chucky Atkins (13.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.4 APG)
Coach Jeff Van Gundy
C - Yao Ming (18.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 0.8 APG)
PF - Juwan Howard (8.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.4 APG)
SF - Tracy McGrady (25.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.7 APG)
SG - David Wesley (11.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.7 APG)
PG - Bob Sura (10.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.0 APG)
- Luke Walton
Predicted Stats: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
- Dikembe Mutombo
Predicted Stats: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks
Who Got Game?
- Caron Butler
Predicted Stats: 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
- Tracy McGrady
Predicted Stats: 30 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
So far, the Lakers have defeated the Rockets twice in two meetings this season, the first one being in Houston (November) where the Lakers won, 84-79. The second game was in Los Angeles (January), as Kobe led the Lakers to a 111-104 win. The difference? This time, LA is without Rudy Tomjanovich and, unfortunately, still missing Kobe Bryant. The result? A less-appreciated roster...one that is expected to fail. This showdown in Houston is an important game for the Lakers, who will look to make it three-straight against a stronger Rockets squad.
Jeff Van Gundy needs to work Yao into this game, both offensively and defensively, to wear down Chris Mihm. The Lakers are missing their backup center, so Grant may see alot of minutes if Mihm finds his way into early foul trouble. This will take alot of aggression from Yao, who has yet to even show a consistent level of it this season. If Ming doesn't begin playing like a dominant center soon, who know how many more checks Yao will be writing. Shutting him down will NOT be the Lakers' top priority, but keeping him off the boards will help Los Angeles by preventing second chance points, and trips to the foul line, by the big man.
Butler and Jones need to keep a hand in McGrady's face for the Lakers to even stand a chance in this game. Otherwise, you'll witness a 40 point game by T-Mac, who won't hesitate to launch threes like he's on the Atkins Diet...yes...I'm talking Chucky Atkins, who will more than likely take his share of threes against Bob Sura. Speaking of shooting beyond the arc...watch Padgett, the guy who comes off the bench and hits 7 or 8 consecutive, wide open threes to pull the Rockets back into the game.
Odom should have a big game against Howard. Lamar's versatility sometimes seems non-existant, where he seems to always post up and play more like a Karl Malone, rather than a Kevin Garnett. Odom has advantages over most bigger, slower forwards in the league, so this is where he should expose their weaknesses. Drive the baseline, force Yao away from the hoop, use your speed and agility...come on, Lamar, step it up. It's obvious that LO has a few post moves, but Hamblen really needs to stress that he brings his man out to the perimeter and beats him to the rim, with the possibility of drawing the foul. You see this happening a few times...but just "a few times" isn't enough.
Off the bench, Luke Walton and Dikembe Mutombo could play huge roles for their teams. Walton's passing and hustle is much-needed in Los Angeles, with the absence of Kobe...while Mutombo's defense (and surprisingly, his offense) could be useful while Yao rests on the bench, or sits because of foul trouble. Look to also see Scott Padgett lighting up the Lakers from downtown, while Tony Bobbitt sees a few minutes and shows us what he's made of, especially on defense. Are my fingers crossed to see Bobbitt? Possibly.
The Lakers aren't a playoff team without Kobe, and as of right now, the Rockets are...and with this game being in Houston, it won't be pretty for Los Angeles. I'd like to predict the win, but Houston just took out Minnesota on the road...so...here's the prediction: if Luke Walton plays significant minutes in this game, the Lakers will win by three, 92-89. If not, the Rockets will win on turnovers, 85-81.
Last edited by Real Deal on Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:20 am, edited 3 times in total.