There it is again – a Lakers score under 100 and another W for the Rockets. Just when everyone had written in the Lakers vs. Nuggets on Sunday, the Rockets took the white-out to them, scratched out
Nuggets Game 1 and stamped Rockets Game 7 on the tickets.
All I can really say about Game 6 is “wow, the Rockets stepped up big time,” and “wow, the Lakers do suck.” Regarding the former, Scola’s 1st quarter was so sorely needed not just for his points, but to keep the Lakers honest by making them account for a low post presence. The Lakers apparently forgot to set their alarm to wake up and start playing as they looked weak falling behind 27-15 after 1. They managed 15 only because Jordan Farmar came in to close the quarter with 2 3 pointers. This whole series, I actually wanted to see Derek Fisher out on the floor as much as possible so Farmar would be parked on the bench.
The Rockets could have pushed the lead out to 20, but a couple of bad shots and turnovers toward the end of the 2nd quarter were fortunately erased by a near-turnover lucky bounce that found Aaron Brooks open for a 3. The Rockets rolled into the half up 52-36.
Then the 3rd quarter started and the Rockets went through an offensive drought. All ball movement stopped, no shots were falling, and the Lakers steadily chipped away. Enter Carl Landry. Actually, re-enter. Anyway, I was calling for a lineup change in the 3rd while the Rockets were struggling and Adelman finally made the call to Carl with 6 minutes left in the 3rd and Rockets lead down to 2, 54-52.
Right off the bat, Landry scored a layup and-1 for a 3 point play. He brought energy back onto the court and the shots started falling again. Scola nailed a 20 footer at the buzzer that pushed the Rockets lead back up to 9 at 74-65. That shot was huge because it gave us the momentum back that had swung to the Lakers earlier in the quarter.
The 4th quarter was the Landry and Brooks show. Those 2 guys looked like they were in an extra gear that no one else on the floor had. The Lakers were within single digits a couple of times early in the 4th and it sure looked to me that Kobe, who got some rest to open the quarter, was primed to take over the game. That didn’t happen. Aaron Brooks took over the game, instead, starting with 2 straight buckets that pushed the lead to 13 with 3 minutes left. AB was dismantling the Lakers defense off the pick and roll. He was going anywhere he wanted, when he wanted, and getting excellent looks going down the stretch and the Rockets never looked back as they rolled to a 95-80 victory.
Regarding the latter (“the Lakers do suck”), Kobe had to work hard for his 32, Gasol only added 14 when he should be dominating down in the post, Farmar contributed, but everyone else on their roster was terrible. Ariza realized he was Ariza and went 2-6. Bynum who started and should be controlling the paint with his height scored 0 – zero, zip, zilch, nada. My man, Derek Fisher, went 1-7 for 2 points. Odom played ok, but gave them almost nothing offensively with just 8 points. Walton 0-5, Brown 0-3, Vujacic 1-3. So many players, so few points. Unless Kobe goes for 50+, Lakers aren’t going anywhere unless these role players step up.
Meanwhile, the Rockets give themselves a chance to play and to see what happens in Game 7 on Sunday. The series is there for the taking, Rockets! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!