The Lakers played their worst game of the season on Friday against the Thunder and it looked like more of the same in the first against the Rockets. Aaron Brooks led the way by scorching the Lakers (as he always does). He had 12 points and 4 assists in the first as the Rockets jumped out to a 34-27 lead. Brooks looked to push the ball and punished the Lakers by beating their defense down the floor.
The second quarter was a different story. When Brooks went out two minutes into the quarter the Rockets were up by four. When he came back in five minutes later they were trailing by four. Even when he came back, he never found the same rhythm he had in the first. He was 0-5 with 2 turnovers and the Lakers outscored the Rockets 35-11. They even went on a 20-0 run in the second half of the quarter. The 11 points the Rockets scored was their lowest point total in a quarter all season.
The lead grew by three in the fourth and while the Rockets closed the gap in the fourth, the game was basically over after that dominant second quarter. The offensive charge of the Lakers was led by Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. Bryant really opened things up by looking to dish off of his drives rather than shoot for volume. Bryant just missed a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. Gasol had a season-high 30 points hitting 11 of 17 shots. He was able to get great position on the smaller Rockets and converted layup after layup.
The biggest surprise though, was the play of the guards. Derek Fisher tied a season-high with 15 points and he did it on 6 of 8 shooting. Farmar also added 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting. This month, the two of them have combined to average 15 points per game so their combined 29 points was a pleasant surprise.Not too much can be taken away from this win. The Rockets were missing both Shane Battier and Kevin Martin and have now lost 5 of their last 6 games. While they haven't been technically eliminated from playoff contention, they sit 7.5 games back with 10 games to play. But the Lakers will take a win any way they can get it. Lakers defeated the Rockets, 109-101.