Rockets Projected Starting Line-up:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Kevin Martin
SF: Shane Battier
PF: Luis Scola
C: Chuck Hayes
Key Reserves: Aaron Brooks, Brad Miller, Jordan Hill
Injuries: Yao Ming
After two tough losses, the Lakers look to rebound when they face the Rockets tonight.
Frontcourt: Hayes is a bulldog who battles hard down low. Since returning from injury he has made life difficult for opposing centers with his relentlessness. The most consistent player for the Rockets all season has been Scola. He averages 8.3 rebounds and 19.3 points on 50.2% shooting. Back-up center Miller has size and is also a very skilled passer who opens things up for Houston’s speedy guards.
Backcourt: Lowry has continued to start for the Rockets even though Brooks has returned from injury. Brooks may be a more prolific scorer, but Lowry is a better on-ball defender. One of the best defenders in the league, Shane Battier, always guards Kobe well. Battier is the ultimate glue guy who doesnt make many mistakes and can knock down the long ball. Averaging 23 points and 2.2 treys, Martin is known for his scoring abilities and can pour them in if he’s left open. He’ll need to be kept in check if the Lakers hope to win.
Keys to Laker Victory:
The Rockets are the 4th highest scoring team in the league. Defense will need to be a point of emphasis for the Lakers tonight. The Lakers can’t take possessions off and try to make up for it in the fourth quarter. They should focus on playing consistent, tough defense throughout the game.
Good defense leads to easy offense. The Lakers are dangerous in the open court and finish fast breaks very well. As amazing as Kobe is with his ability to score 40 on any given night, the Lakers do not win often when Kobe has to take on the scoring load. There are enough weapons on the team that Kobe shouldn’t feel obligated to score 40. Let’s hope that the role players step up tonight and help lead the Lakers to victory.
Laker Injuries: Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff