Pre-Game Report: Lakers vs. Rockets

Rockets Projected Starting Line-up

The Lakers' Kobe Bryant drives to the basket against the Houston Rockets Shane Battier, left, and Luis Scola, Sunday, May 17, 2009, during the Western Conference semifinals at the Staples Center. The Lakers beat the Rockets 89-70 Photo via Newscom

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Kevin Martin
SF: Shane Battier
PF: Luis Scola
C: Chuck Hayes

Key Reserves: Brad Miller, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill

Injuries: Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming

The Lakers look to rebound from a baffling three game losing streak when they take on the Rockets in Houston.

Frontcourt: With Yao Ming sidelined, the Rockets’ frontline is weakened. However, Scola and Hayes are hard-nosed players who work hard in the paint. What Hayes lacks in size he has made up for with hustle and toughness. Scola has proven to be one of the better power forwards in the league with all-star averages of 20.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Back-up center Miller has size and is also a very skilled passer who opens things up Houston’s speedy guards.

Backcourt: The Rockets are missing another key starter with Aaron Brooks out until early next week. Lowry has stepped into the starting role and has dished the rock admirably. He also has fast hands and is leading the team with 1.5 steals. At the two, Martin has been the most consistent scorer on the team averaging 2.2 three pointers per game. If anyone in the league can stop Kobe it might be be the Rockets’ defensive specialist, Battier. He is also contributing on the offensive end by hitting 1.3 spot up treys per game. Budinger and Lee play meaningful minutes off the bench for their offense and defense respectively.

Keys to Laker Victory:
The Lakers need to regroup and refocus. The offense has floundered posting a disgraceful 41.2% FG in the last three games. Kobe needs to stop playing one versus five which has been reflected in his 42.8 FG%. Instead, the Lakers need to get the ball to Gasol on the elbow or down low in the post. The Lakers offense flows best through Gasol since he is such a highly skilled passer. That being said, the rest of the team needs step it up and knock down open shots.

Defensively, the Lakers need to come out in the first quarter with intensity rather than waiting until the fourth quarter to turn it on. If the lakers can limit turnovers, secure defensive rebounds, and take good shots they should be able to beat any opponent. Keep it simple. It’s time to get back to the things that made the Lakers champions.

Laker Injuries: Andrew Bynum, Theo Ratliff

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