Ugh. What a waste of my Sunday afternoon.
As I expected, the Rockets seem like a better team without Yao Ming. Yao's presence on the floor was an advantage for us. Now that advantage is gone. But none of that mattered. We didn't show up, and that is the frustrating thing. It's not the loss. It's the way they lost. Without a fight.
"The final margin told nothing of how badly this depleted Houston squad beat on the Lakers; it would've taken one of the biggest comebacks in postseason history for L.A. to swing the game," says Bethlehem Shoals.
It feels like Groundhog Day. When are these Lakers going to get the final wake up call? When are the Lakers going to stop trying to just break the clock every day, and wake up for good?
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"Also, Kwame a. made a great point in the comments:
Why do people keep acting like Houston minus Yao is trash. This seems to be a case of not having enough knowledge of the players who are contributing to Houston. Hell, all year Wondahbap was noting that Yao slowed them down against us and were better with him off the floor….Yea the way it happened sucked, but it was not like they lost to the Grizz.
What kind of offenses gave the Lakers fits this year? Ones with quick point guards that could break our slower PGs down off the dribble, teams that ran their offense from the top of the key area and teams that had bigs that could step out and hit 15-18 footers that pulled our bigs out from protecting the paint. With Yao out, what does Houston do for offense? Run the pick and pop at the top of the key with a big who can hit the shot. The Lakers responded by going back to old habits — everyone sagging off their guy to provide unnecessary help in the key, in doing so leaving good three point shooters too open. The defensive rotations were pathetic."
Considering our lethargy in Game 4, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to get this excited:
"I know you're expecting a full column effort, but the Lakers' opponent was only the devastated Houston Rockets, so why should I have to work hard to write about them?
Why should I put passion into describing a game that the Lakers didn't show passion in playing?"
"Their opponents were trailing, reeling and suddenly hurting more than ever.
So the Lakers came out Sunday…and displayed the heart of a sixth-seed."
"For now it's time to stop wondering how their inconsistent efforts translate into potential matchups down the road and get back to this series, which just became a best-of-three."
"Derek Fisher's return to the active roster was a forgettable one."
"The Lakers will win this series, and everyone outside of the Rockets locker room believes that. But if the Lakers don’t wake up and accept that they are going to have to earn this one, it’s going to get dicey."
"Credit Adelman, too, for creating a Yao-less game plan in less than 48 hours that was effective enough for Houston to build a 29-point fourth quarter lead. No coach would want to be without the services of a 7-foot-6, All-NBA center. But Adelman may be the most equipped to do it. In the past, Adelman's offenses have been very perimeter oriented (see Sacramento, Portland) with the center often playing the role of facilitator at the elbow. The Rockets will undoubtedly miss Yao soon enough (probably in Game 5) but on this night, Houston proved that there is life without their star."
"Maybe they will still claim the title when all this is over, but shocking as it might sound, an NBA team failed to show up Sunday for a playoff game -- as embarrassing an indictment as one can levy against a group of so-called professional athletes.
The Lakers are the superior team, the Rockets are down and without Yao Ming, and it was time for the Lakers to put them away."
Our own Timbo's The View From Houston
"The game? Agonizing and unbearable. Intolerable. Nasty and Foul. Stinky and Sewage-drenched. Brutal. Poisonous....
Beyond that, it was all very perplexing.
It was also Grisly. Vile. Unspeakable. Nightmarish...
But ultimately it was only one game and the Lakers still lead the series, heading home to Staples for what is now a best-of-3. Time for the Lakers to "take their lumps and move along," as PJ told them during a brief pause in the action during the third quarter blowout today.
Now, let's pay a visit to our friends from Texas and see if they agree with all this, shall we?"
A month ago, I thought only an act of David Stern could prevent Kobe Bryant & Co. from winning the West and breezing past LeBron James & Friends in a star-driven Finals that's had ratings-hungry TV executives smiling in their sleep.
The mid-May Lakers are not the mid-April Lakers........The Lakers, not Denver, are the best team in the West.
They just have to start playing like it."
Magic Johnson on ESPN/ABC