Game 2 was pretty fun to watch for a basketball fan, right?
We took a minute to reflect on the events after L.A.’s rather dramatic 111-98 Game 2 victory over Houston, prior to sitting down with Lakers analyst Mychal Thompson to go over things in greater detail.
1) Jack On Fire
2) Pau Gets Best of Yao
The Lakers found themselves a new matchup advantage. It was pretty obvious pretty early that Yao Ming does not have the quickness to stay with Pau Gasol on the block, and to their credit, the Lakers went to the matchup early and often. As a result, Gasol had 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first quarter, had tagged Yao with two fouls, and was similarly effective fronting Yao at the other end a game after Andrew Bynum had played him straight up (Yao scored 28 points in Houston’s opening win). After the game, here’s what Yao had to say: “In Game 1 they played straight, played behind against me and I scored big. Game 2 they changed their defense to tonight like Gasol did to me – fronts and their other perimeter guy stayed behind to see if they could steal the ball. We need to make adjustment again.” In contrast, L.A. went away from Gasol when he had the much smaller Chuck Hayes on him in Yao’s absence, and for no good reason.
3) Adelman Agrees
Rockets head coach Rick Adelman addressed Pau’s success against Yao after the game as well: “We knew that there was a strong possibility that they would start Odom and that matchup out there and there nothing we can do about it, Yao’s just got to do a better job stay out of foul trouble and know that he’s facing guy that’s more active and is going to put it on the floor and attack the basket on him.” Basically, L.A. needs to continue to exploit Gasol’s outstanding array of offensive skills, and not get locked into Kobe Bryant making jumpers.
4) Fisher Suspension, & Lots of Screening
Derek Fisher was suspended for Friday’s Game 3 for striking Houston’s Luis Scola with his shoulder and head with 13.2 seconds remaining in the third period of the Lakers’ 111-98 win. Fisher received a flagrant foul penalty two and was ejected from the game at the time of the play. In his postgame presser, however, Fisher had some interesting comments about how big players are setting screens: “For some reason, big guys have been allowed to move and set much closer and tighter picks on guards at the top of the floor than I’ve ever seen before, so my intent was just to run through (Luis Scola) hard.”
5) Farmar Ready, Excited
In Salt Lake City, the Lakers bus had taken off following an in-between-game practice, the players ready to eat and nap … Except for Jordan Farmar. While finishing up a story or two, Ty Nowell and I emerged from the media room to see Farmar shooting all alone in EnergySolutions Arena, and had a few words with the backup point guard. The synthesis was that he needed to stay ready, stay fresh, in case his number was called. Consider his number called.
6) Playoff Podcast – Mychal Thompson
CLICK HERE to listen.