There was a lot to like in the Rockets opening night loss in LA on Tuesday night. I don’t think its going out on a limb to say the Rockets were better. They shot it better (barely), out-rebounded the Lakers, and even had more blocked shots. The problem was that they turned the ball over 20 times, and that allowed the Lakers to get out in transition which allowed them to take a double digit deficit and turn it into an 8 point lead. The Rockets were able to comeback and take a lead late, but Steve Blake’s 3 gave LA the lead for good. Here are some of my thoughts on the Rockets 112-110 loss at Staples Center:
- The Rockets were in an impossible situation on the last play of the game having to throw the ball in from the corner. You have to wonder if Yao hadn’t fouled it, could he have been brought back in that point. He could have just stood in the paint and tried to grab the inbounds and then flip it in, or he could have delivered the inbounds pass.
- The original play that the Rockets ran after the Blake 3 was defended perfectly by LA. The Rockets were hoping the Lakers would help off the guys who were in the corner so Brooks could get them the ball to try a 3, but the Lakers stayed at home, and Brooks had nowhere to go. That’s the problem with Brooks, he’s just too small, and not a good enough finisher inside.
- For it being the first game of the season, I thought the Rockets offense was very crisp in the first half. The passing was brilliant, and they shredded a great defensive team.
- Brad Miller and Chase Budinger were great off the bench. Its going to be hard for Rick Adelman to keep Budinger on the bench.
- The backcourt combo of Ish Smith and Courtney Lee was not good. Smith won’t be counted on much once Kyle Lowry gets back, but I was disappointed in Lee. He’s a great athlete, and he made some plays defensively, but he also forced up some bad shots.
- Yao moved pretty well, and there was one spot early in the game when he got up and down on a fast break. I’m a little worried about him offensively right now because it doesn’t look like he has any rhythm, but it looks like he could be very good defensively, especially since fouls are really meaningless for him.
- Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin combined for 50 points on 33 shots. When I said they could have the best backcourt in the league, I meant it.
Quick thought on the Lakers: When Andrew Bynum comes back, their top 4 off the bench of Steve Blake, Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, and Lamar Odom could be the best in the league. Derek Fisher is the Lakers 4th best guard.
About the Author
Written by Adam Spolane
Spend most of my time in Houston covering teams in Houston, however in the summer I am a radio broadcaster for the Casper Ghosts, the Colorado Rockies Pioneer League affiliate.