What's Wrong with the Lakers?
Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and Lamar Odom wondering what the hell happened. AP Photo/LM Otero
I really don't know what's wrong with the Lakers. If anyone did surely it would be head coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff. Then Lakers fans wouldn't be sitting in a pit of 780.7, the ICM-9 code for malaise.
On paper this series should have been over. I had predicted the Lakers to win in five even with a healthy Yao Ming in the game. But losing Ming after game three with a hairline fracture in his foot, the Rockets responded in a big way. They went to a smaller faster line up whose screen-and-rolls have given the Lakers fits. Aaron Brooks has emerged as a Tony Parker-esque point guard while their forwards particularly Luis Scola have magically been transformed into James Worthy.
You have to give credit to the Houston Rockets. They didn't just lay down after losing Ming. Despite never notching a victory in the regular season against the Lakers, they kept their heads down and just performed. And a lot of that has to be attributed to Rockets head coach Rick Adelman who got his team to completely change their offensive philosophy in the middle of the playoffs. Quite amazing if you think about it.
But the Lakers. We all know what they need to do to win this series. Give the ball to Pau Gasol and have him face off against the undersized Chuck Hayes or Carl Landry. Simple. They can't be cute like they tried to do in game six and try and take bad jumpers. Just take the ball to the hole and be aggressive.
Now while everyone is panicking in Los Angeles let's just keep this in mind. Last season the one-seed Boston Celtics took seven games to eliminate the eight-seed Atlanta Hawks, seven games to eliminate the four-seed Cleveland Cavaliers and six games to eliminate the two-seed Detroit Pistons. They didn't look completely dominate until the finals against the Lakers.
Keep that in mind while the playoffs continue.
Houston Rockets at LA Lakers tomorrow at 12:30 pm on ABC and AM 570 KLAC.