Yao Ming scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Houston came to LA and took away the Lakers home advantage. Artest scored 21 and dished out 7 assists, while on the other side it was pretty much Kobe and nothing else. Kobe Bryant did score 32 points, but they came on a 14 of 31 shooting night. And you know what the stats say? When Kobe takes more than 30 shots a game, the Lakers usually lose (2-7 in Playoff games after this game).
The Rockets came out strong in the first quarter and pretty much kept the lead and kept the Lakers away for the rest of the game. They played good defense on Gasol, Odom and actually everybody else. Battier and Artest shared their Kobe burden for the night but didn’t do too badly. When Kobe takes everything on himself, the Lakers tend to look pretty bad. Their 2 for 18 from three point range was a thorn in their side.
The Lakers need Odom, Bynum and Gasol to step up on Wednesday. If it’s better playing and just more hustle and effort from them, cause it seemed Yao and Scola pretty much controlled the middle without too much interference. Yao even had his own “Paul Pierce” moment, leaving the game after a knee collision with Kobe only to change his mind in the tunnel and come back into the game and score 8 more to solidify the win.
And Here’s a nice video a Rocket fan posted after the game, re-living the Yao injury in dramatic fashion.
About 3000 miles East of the Staples Center the Boston Celtics decided they think having the home advantage is too easy in these playoffs, and lost another game 1 at home, this time to the Orlando Magic.
Orlando led by 28 at one point (65-37) but had to withstand a ferocious Celtics comeback, hanging on for the 95-90 win. The refs helped Boston a bit to make that comeback, but it seems there’s a team or two each year that gets some help in the playoffs, intentional or not. It wasn’t enough for them anyways.
Orlando played only 8 players but got solid outings from all of them, or almost all. Rashard Lewis scored 18, Dwight Howard had a nice return from suspension with 16 points, 22 boards and 3 blocks and Turkoglu added 15.
Boston had Paul Pierce with 23 but Ray Allen had a bad night with only 9 points (2 for 12 from the field). Rondo wasn’t far from a triple double, or maybe even a quadruple double – 14 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and get this – 7 turnovers. His turnover amount in all 7 games against the Bulls – 8. Boston just got into the game too late, and didn’t have enough ticks on the clock to finish their comeback. Doc Rivers needs a lot more from Allen and Perkins when game 2 comes around.
Don’t Forget – The new MVP starts his Conference Semi Final series tonight when the Hawks come to Cleveland (8 ET) while Dallas will try to even up things in Denver in game 2 (10:30 ET). Put your money on Cleveland, doesn’t matter the line. Denver aswell… Dallas seems to have their hands full with the Nuggets.