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LIVE - Lakers vs. Rockets: Game 7 - 3rd Quarter

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A great first half, and the makings of a Game 5 repeat. The defense is excellent. Pau Gasol is playing tough, resilient, and really crashing the boards (especially offensive). Bynum playing excellent defense and going after rebounds. Trevor Ariza making plays and hitting threes.

Houston shooting 32.5%. While L.A. is only shooting 45.2%, I think we can all agree that this is much better than the Lakers shooting 60% and the Rockets shooting 55%.

20-point lead despite Kobe 2-8, for 8 points. He's getting into the paint almost at will, and though he's missed some gimmes, he draws so much attention that it makes for easy offensive rebounds and putbacks for Gasol, Bynum, Odom, and Ariza. He's also creating and facilitating on offense – almost every decision he's made has led to a wide open or easy shot.

A lot to like. If they don't come flat in the 3rd quarter, the starters should be able to spend the 4th on the bench again. Of course, that can be a big "IF"...