Game 5 Recap — The View from Houston...

Forty fricking points. In the playoffs. On TNT.

As Bingo and Fleagle and Drooper of the Banana Splits would say — "That's a Double Ooch!"

Poor Rockets didn't even get the benefit of Garbage Time Score Equalization in their Game 5 tail whipping... If the Rox were cocker spaniels, the SPCA would be all over Phil Jackson for his inhumane and abusive treatment. As it stands, they're probably flogging bootleg DVDs of that whacking for $19.95 to S&M fetishists even as we speak...

As for me: 40 point stompings turn my stomach. I like kitties and doggies and bunnies and  butterflies and stuff. The world is a hard enough place without seeing the unfortunate being subjected to needless cruelty.

Okay, I lie...................... I loved it!

Come to think of it though, the Rocket boosters were already projecting that Stage 5 was gonna be a dud going into this one. They knew they were on the south side of the big bitch Payback before their 6'6" Center even lost the opening jump. No worries, they said, we're gonna lose but it's okay, they said — it's all part of The Plan.

Let's see if our Texan partners are as happy with the great theory of W-L-L-W-L-W-W as they were a day previous, shall we?

(More stuff after the jump...)

Click the headlines to read full stories...

(1)

Positives Aside, Rockets' Season Facing End

by Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - We'll always have Game 4. How many perfect days can a franchise have anyway? The Lakers were called quitters, losers, dogs, gypsies, tramps and thieves after failing to show up Sunday afternoon at Toyota Center. Wakeup call anyone?

The Rockets spent 48 hours reminding themselves that the Lakers wouldn't pull a second straight no-show. They said all the right things about being ready.

The Lakers hit them anyway, relentlessly, endlessly, from start to finish, and the Rockets were blown out 118-78 Tuesday night in Game 5.

Kobe Bryant took over early — controlling the tempo, making plays, forcing mistakes — and everything was easy after that.

If you're squeamish, don't read this paragraph. The Lakers sprinted to a 25-point halftime lead and stretched it to 40 in the third quarter.

Now the Rockets are up against it, pushed to the edge, fighting to avoid elimination Thursday in Game 6.

After everything this team has been through, after all the injuries and makeovers and all the rest, they've almost run out of time.

"If it was easy, a caveman could do it," Ron Artest said.

Nothing that happens now can taint what this team has accomplished. Still, Game 5 was an embarrassment. * * *

 

(2)

Hollywood Bomb: 40-point loss matches worst in franchise's postseason history

By Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - The pendulum swung back the other way and hit the Rockets with the force of a jackhammer.
They went from overachieving to overmatched, dominant to destroyed.

After their wonderful afternoon in which the Rockets could do no wrong, they suffered through a wretched night in which nothing went right. The Lakers, stunned when the Rockets led by 29 on Sunday to even the series, pounded the Rockets 118-78 on Tuesday to match the worst Rockets loss in their playoff history and send the Western Conference semifinals back to Toyota Center with Los Angeles leading 3-2.

"We played absolutely the opposite than we did in the last game," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We turned it over in the first half, shot it poorly. We forced shots and then we got shots and we couldn't make shots. It was totally different."

The Rockets' checklist, the one that covered all the areas they had to master to stun the Lakers in Game 4, was demolished, crumpled and tossed toward a trash can where it no doubt clanged away.

The Rockets committed turnovers, missed 3s, were beat on the boards and did not come close to getting back defensively in transition, all areas they had conquered Sunday afternoon at Toyota Center.

Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks, who combined to score 57 points in Game 4, made just six of 22 shots. Ron Artest made four of 15 shots, following his eight-point game on Sunday with nine on Tuesday, adding four turnovers. Chuck Hayes got into early foul trouble and played just 17 minutes. The Rockets committed 18 turnovers, leading to 24 Lakers points.

That did not leave much to do well, and not nearly enough to avoid a thorough rout.

"You would think we'd give a better effort," Hayes said. "I guess we just didn't have it. * * *

 

(3)

Bynum Starts Off Hot for Lakers in Game 5 Rout

by Brian MacTaggart, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - Had it not been for the back injury suffered by Lakers forward Lamar Odom two days earlier, Andrew Bynum likely would have been afterthought in Tuesday night's Game 5 against the Rockets.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson had expressed his displeasure with Bynum's play since returning from a midseason knee injury and had been giving Odom more starts i n the playoffs.

But with Odom moving slower after falling hard to the floor Sunday, Bynum started and scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Lakers' 118-78 win that put them with one win of eliminating the Rockets.

"He looked energized and he played with the kind of spirit we like to see from Andrew," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. "Hopefully he'll keep it up."

Bynum, who had scored a total of 14 points in the first four games of the series in only 48 minutes, played 20 minutes and made five of six field goals. Odom played 18 minutes and scored 10 points.

Jackson wouldn't tip his hand on which player would start in Thursday's Game 6 at Toyota Center.

"We'll see how quickly Lamar improves over the next two days," he said. "There's no doubt we want to see him come back and get back to as close to 100 percent as possible, but I'll still hold onto the option of keeping that lineup the same way it was tonight even if he improves.

"I like the fact the two of those big play well together and feed off each other, and Pau (Gasol) really looks to Andrew and helps get him going and it gives our rebounding a little bit of an edge with size." * * *

 

(4)

Lakers pummel Rockets 118-78: Series returns to Houston for Game 6

by Tom Martin, The Dream Shake

Facts are facts: the Houston Rockets never had a chance in Game 5. No arguments are necessary. We were not going to win. I'm not accepting defeat, and I'm not acting like it doesn't matter. I'm just being honest when I say that this was bound to happen. When you piss off the big dogs, you expect retaliation. The Rockets simply aren't good enough to deal with an angry group of Lakers on their home floor. Sorry.

Don't listen to the homers, don't listen to the Chronicle, don't listen to anyone who tries to convince you otherwise. They're going to make up a billion reasons why Houston could have won the game. What they'll fail to notice is the value of adjustments. Phil Jackson was relaxed after his Game 4 letdown. Why? Because he knew that what went wrong could be fixed. And when the superior team plays with just as much intelligence as talent, the underdog is in for a rough night.  * * *

 

(5)

The Rockets are Living on a Prayer

by The Random Guy, Fourth and Fifty.com

I don't want to talk about Game 5, even though I'm contractually obligated to. The past is the past, and our name is our name. Let's get it over with. It was a bad loss, but it was just a loss, and one that everyone expected. 118-78, bad guys ahead 3-2 in the series. Benedict Salvatore (pun!) took the Rox out of the game extra early be neutralizing the secret weapon that is Chuck "Wagon" Hayes. After Chuck picked up two personal fouls and left the game in the first quarter, the Lakers went on a 24-7 run or something like that. As Chuck Hayes goes, so goeth our season.

I meant to say this a few days ago, but the Yao-less Rockets living and dying by the 3 reminds me of one of those NCAA Tournament teams that can go from hot to cold very quickly. You never want to bet with or against them because they're so damn mercurial. But 17% (5 for 29) is effing ridiculous.

Another concern is that while the Lakers won easily, Kobe didn't get the "FU" game out of his system. He had 26 in 31 mins and his team had their vengeance, but I don't get the sense that he had his personal vengeance. If that makes sense.

Last thing before moving on to the future, Brian Cook is now my second least favorite Laker, behind Double Chin Beard Lakers Cheerleader Tracie MissGradie. You heard that right — Cook's pass to his teammate Trevor Ariza in the 3rd quarter was a thing of beauty. Oh, was that a turnover? Does Cook play for the Rockets? Bullshit. Cook is also 2nd Team All Potbelly, behind Brian Scalabrine at the 4 spot.

Ok, that robust Game 5 coverage should satiate your appetite for historical knowledge of things that happened last night. Let's move ahead and at least get t o the Bon Jovi reference...

Dear Houston, we have to hold on to what we got. It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not. We've got each other, and that's enough. For love. WE'LL GIVE IT A SHOT!

This Rockets team is one that everyone counted out as serious playoff contenders after McGrady went down. Well, everyone who had never watched a Rockets game and gave a blind opinion on such matters. I'm looking at you, NBA Fast Break and NBATV. Might I remind you of something, please?

A number of people (2, which is a number) are saying that this is one of their favorite Rockets teams because it is such a scrappy underdog. But we've also used that to justify giving ourselves a shot against the Lakers, Nuggets, and then Cavs. Everyone at FaF picked the Rockets in 7, and we're the homers that would have predicted a sweep if there was a 1% chance of that happening. * * *

 

(6)

Hollywood Horror

by Anup, Rockets Buzz

For a brief moment, four minutes to be precise, I thought the Rockets had a chance to win this game. Through those first four minutes, the Rockets ran an efficient offense, grabbed offensive boards, and didn't commit a single turnover.

And then Kobe Bryant made his first shot. A seven point lead quickly evaporated into an 11 point deficit at the end of the first quarter, capped off by Jordan Farmar's ridiculous three-pointer at the end of the period.

The Lakers didn't look back from there. They led by 25 at halftime and by 40 at the end of the third quarter. My thoughts at the beginning of the fourth immediately went to the Nuggets trampling of the Hornets a couple of weeks ago. For a split second, I thought that record might be broken.

And then I remembered why I love these Rockets so much. This team has been resilient all season long. They're tough. They won't let this loss just pass. They realize they need to come out with a sense of vengeance at home Thursday.

I'm not dismissing the fact that the defense looked dismal, and that it looked like the team's hearts were just getting stomped on. There's no excuse for that. But this doesn't worry me as much because it's what we expected from the Lakers. For the last 48 hours, all people have been able to talk about was how the Lakers blew it, how they got lazy, how they just stopped trying.

And Kobe Bryant wasn't going to let that slide. Bryant finished with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in just 31 minutes of action. * * *

 

(7)

Laker Payback

by Clutch, front page of ClutchFans.com

There were several gauges that needed to be reading positive for the Rockets to win in LA -- defensive field goal percentage, turnovers and three-point shooting to name three of the most important.

Midway through the first quarter, all systems went red. The Rockets became turnover-prone while the Lakers, with Chuck Hayes out with his second foul, exploded offensively and they never looked back, routing the Rockets by 40-points to take a 3-2 series lead.

The loss ties the biggest margin of defeat for the Rockets in the playoffs (we all remember Game 7 in Dallas).

Bad news for the Rockets: Andrew Bynum had his first good game of the series, going for 14 points, while Ron Artest's game is AWOL: He's shooting 23.5% (8-34) and 7.7% (1-13) from three-point range in the last 2 games.

 

(8)

Close Game

by "Zboy," posted to ClutchFans.com

Close game. Refs killed the Rockets. NBA wants Lakers to win.

 

(9)

Speaking Frankly

by "Tofu," posted to ClutchFans.com

* * *
Speaking frankly, I think we played fairly well. The biggest and most glaring issue is taking care of the ball, which we MUST do. The Lakers' defense wasn't that much better as they didn't close out on our shooters — we got some decent looks and NOTHING was going down for us tonight. Obviously the lane is way more congested and we have to accept we are not going to win the rebound battle, but we have to make all our shots to stay competitive.

Kobe is going to come out on game 6 as motivated as tonight, except this time with the aim of ending the series. We need to bring our A game.

 

(10)

Confidence

by "DaFranchise03," posted to ClutchFans.com

I dont know if this has been said but...

Laker players, other than Kobe and Gasol, need a confidence boost. Those players get it when they are able to get easy buckets and fast breaks. Once that happens it seems like their outside shots seem to magically get better. Like the start of the game it was only about the inside and Gasol/Bynum. After those dumb TO's and dumb shots that miss horrible shots(especially by Artest). All of a sudden the rest of the team caught on fire.

Also it seems like playing this way effects the Rockets a lot. All of the Rocket's players seem to lose their confidence when this happens. All of a sudden those open shots they normally make dont go in anymore. Those shots they were making in game 4 weren't going in tonight.

They have to play smart and limit their TO's. No more dumb shots no more one on one play for Artest on the wing. That is the only chance they have of winning.

Well that and Chuck not getting into foul trouble. He is the only one that can guard Gasol and Bynum. He is the only player on the team that can guard either of them. So let's hope Odom starts again.

 

(11)

I Hate to Say It...

posted by "Lady Rox" to The Dream Shake

I hate to say it, but I knew game 5 was going to be Lakers all the way. In the end it really doesn't matter how many points we lose by, a loss is a loss, but we will adjust and make this a 7 game series.

What upsets me the most about this game is not that we lost, but I am upset that Rick couldn't get the team in a different mind set, forget about that "shoot 30 three point shots and hope that a big % of them go in". It worked well for game 4 but we all knew it was not going to be a repeat.

It was clear from the beginning of the ball game that our long shots were NOT going in, shot after shot from just about all of our guys the ball just kissed the rim and refused to go in. So why not tell the guys to drive the ball in, make them foul us, at least our free throws were good for the night. We had better chances of staying in the game that way (not saying we would have won, but at least not lose by 40!).

Do we really have to wait to adjust to the Lakers after a loss, do we have to wait til game 6? Maybe it isn't sleepy's fault, maybe it wasn't the rockets fault, it was a game that was meant to be. No matter what I think that all the Rockets, coaches and staff have done a great job considering all the BS the team has gone thru. I support our hometown boys all the way everyday, and WE WILL COME BACK FOR GAME 6... GGOO ROCKETS!!!!!!!!!

 

The Bottom Line:

1. Yes, we knew we were going to lose Game 6 but — JESUS CHRIST, HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??!?!?

2. Rockets started hot, Chuckwagon the 6'6" Center picked up 2 quick fouls, and that was all she wrote.

3. It wasn't anything that either the Rockets or the Lakers did or didn't do — it was just one team was red hot; the other was cold and clanking, the Rockets made bad turnovers, and the Lakers capitalized.

4. Rockets have the next one at home. This was only one loss and it can be turned around again...

5. Say, Lakers, any chance that you'd reschedule Game 7 for another facility? Your rims suck.

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