Well, a win is a win. When Kobe Bryant drops 32 and dishes out 11 dimes, Pau Gasol goes for 26 and 16 and Lamar Odom has 20-20 vision, you’d think it wouldn’t take extra time to defeat a team that is now 5 games below .500. But that’s what these Lakers are all about. Finding creative ways to lose and baffling ways to win.
Credit where credit is due, every time the Lakers made a run the Rockets had an answer. Still, this one was way too close for comfort.
After leading for the entire game the Lake Show slipped and allowed Houston to take their first lead half way through the third. That would be the wake up call that ignited Phil Jackson’s squad.
Not having Andrew Bynum – who sat out with another knee issue – mattered little against the undersized Rockets. Taking advantage of their size, L.A. dominated in the paint forcing Houston to hoist 38 threes. So afraid of taking it inside were the Rockets that Kevin Martin attempted all 11 of his team’s free throws. Martin was killing it as he dropped 30 including some long bombs that were indefensible.
For all the great things Martin did on offense he was embarrassed by KB24 on defense. For whatever reason, Rick Adelman chose not to let Shane Battier check Kobe late and that cost Houston any chance of victory.
Kobe went to work and attempted to take the game over. To his credit he made some clutch shots but he also might have been the reason why it took overtime to finish off the Rockets. With the Lakers leading late in the fourth, Odom was wide open and Bryant was buried in the corner. In typical Kobe fashion, he forced an improbable shot that eventually led to a Luis Scola lay-up that would send this contest into extra time.
Again, a win is a win. Nothing to be too proud of but the good news is that the Spurs lost in Portland. With another shot at San Antonio coming up on Thursday the Lakers have a chance to gain more ground. Playing this type of D won’t cut it against the Spurs but hey…a win is a win.