Our Game 5 Recap looked at the
good, better, and best good, bad, and ugly of the Lakers' 40-point blowout of the Rockets in L.A. last night. But believe it or not, there were positives from this game that we still haven't even touched on. The list seems almost endless; look at almost any category, and the Lakers had the advantage.
Timbo is out for the weekend, so instead of The View from Houston, let's just do a quick review of the multitude of things that went well for the Lakers last night.
There's so much here, I could write about it from here to the start of Game 6 – so instead, we'll do this in list format, and we'll keep the commentary to a minimum, letting the numbers speak for themselves.
- Intensity & Effort – up 25 at half, the Lakers didn't "play soccer"... they continued to be aggressive, made it 40 to end the third, earned the starters a rest, and didn't even let up in garbage time. Now that's a good effort.
- Defense – The Rockets on offense read like this: 32.6% from the field, 35% effective field goal percentage, 41% true shooting percentag.
- Forced Turnovers – 18 Rockets turnovers, which the Lakers turned into 24 points. 12 steals (8 in the first half).
- Blocks – 7 blocks (6 in the first half, 3 for Gasol.
- Rebounding – Lakers were +7 on the boards.
- Offense – Balanced, making threes but still attacking the rim. 56 points in the paint (+14 to the Rockets' 42).
- Pace – Lots of steals = 24 fast break points (7 for Rockets). 118 points overall, 64 at half time.
- 3-Point Shooting – Took only 13 threes, made 46.2% of them. Closed out on shooters, held Rockets to 17.2% from long distance. Rockets took more than twice as many threes (29), but made one less (5).
- Free Throws – By attacking the basket, the Lakers earned 36 FTAs, making 28 of them. They managed to keep Houston off the line: the Rockets were 15-16 from the stripe. Overall, Houston committed 7 more fouls than LA.
- The Bench Mob – 47 points on 16-34 shooting (47%), 6 steals, 24 rebounds, 4-7 from three, 11-13 from the line, lots of pluses and no minuses in the +/- column. Starters were able to rest the entire 4th quarter.
- Pau Gasol – Shot 5-9 from the field, had 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal, zero turnovers. Very aggressive on both ends of the floor.
- Trevor Ariza – 5-8 overall, 50% from deep, 13 points, 3 assists, 3 steals. Very active defense, really attacked the rim.
- Andrew Bynum – 5-6 shooting, 4-4 from the stripe, 14 points, 6 rebounds, great defense, plenty of changed shots... and only 2 fouls! All in 20 minutes of play.
- Kobe Bryant – 10-19 shooting, not too many outside shots, got to the basket at will, 5-6 from the line. 26 points (1.4 points per shot!), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block... without even playin gin the 4th quarter.
- Lamar Odom – Only took 3 shots, but wasn't even expected to play. 5-6 from the free throw line (!), 10 points, 6 rebounds in only 19 minutes.
Jordan Farmar – 4-7 shooting, 2-2 on three-pointers, 12 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover. All in only 22 minutes. The Kid is back.
Luke Walton – Didn't score a lot, but didn't cause a bunch of boneheaded turnovers either. 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover. Hit both free throws.
- UPS Air – Brown had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and zero turnovers in 17 minutes.
- Josh Powell – Not afraid to shoot the ball in garbage time. 4-7, 10 points... helped protect that magic number 40.
DJ Mbenga – His first playoff minutes, one heck of a block, and a monster dunk, all of which thrilled the crowd. Heeeeyyy youuuuu guuuuuyyys!!!
- Ron Artest – 4-15 from the field, 1-7 from three, 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers, only 1 assist.
Shane Battier – 2-7 from the field, 5 points. 1-4 from downtown. Couldn't guard Kobe.
- Aaron Brooks – 4-11 from the field, 0-3 from deep, 2 assisst, 2 turnovers, 1 rebound. Wasn't able to do much driving and dishing.
- Kyle Lowry & Chuck Hayes – Combined for 3 defensive rebounds, and 6 rebounds overall. Combined 4-13 for 8 points. No steals, no turnovers.
- Brian Cook – What a bargain.
I know, I know... practically the entire Lakers roster was in the positives, in some way or another. What can I say? When they're all that good, it's our job to recognize it!
The only bad I could find: Derek Fisher just can't keep up with Aaron Brooks (all 4 of Brooks' baskets came against Fisher); Sasha Vujacic is still worthless (missed both three pointers, had three times as many fouls as baskets in 14 minutes); the Rockets grabbed 16 offensive rebounds. But with so many positives, it's hard to get upset about such a short list of negatives.
I think I speak for all of Lakerland when I say that if the Lakers continue to play like this, they'll bring home a championship in June. All in all, a victory to relish.
As far as I'm concerned, no drug can provide a high that could compare to a dominating Laker performance like this one.