After dropping Game 6 in Houston 95-80, the Lakers weren’t in the best collective mood of all time at Friday’s practice.
A few adjectives used by Phil Jackson and Jordan Farmar to describe the mood: somber, sullen, anxious, angry, and annoyed.
But perhaps the most pertinent word going into Sunday’s Game 7, which tips at 12:30 p.m., was “determined.” Farmar explained that the Lakers, more than anything, were eager to get back on the court and again prove their poor overall performance to be more of an aberration than a rule.
But to do so, the Lakers will need a better effort in the paint at both ends of the floor. Since a very physical style of play down low worked to Houston’s advantage in Game 6 (even if it’s on the Lakers for not pushing back), L.A. saw on film that they’ll need to be more aggressive on the block, not conceding any territory. There’s no question that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in particular need to exploit their length advantage as they did in Game 5′s 40-point win, and that’s precisely what they plan on doing.
The one clear advantage L.A. has other than the on-paper matchups?
There’s a reason the purple and gold fought all season for home-court advantage, and what better chance to use it than the first Game 7 since the 2000 Western Conference Finals, which featured Kobe Bryant’s fourth quarter alley-oop to Shaquille O’Neal?
That play helped push L.A. to its first championship of the decade; We’ll see in 48 hours what this year’s bunch of Lakers have in ‘em.