Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 2 Preview and Pick

Houston Rockets +10 at L.A. Lakers -10 O/U 192.5 10:30 PM ET Wednesday May 6, 2009 on TNT

By Jason Green at Predictem.com

The Rockets lead this best of 7 series 1-0.

Tonight the Houston Rockets play the Lakers in La La land in game 2 of this Western Conference semifinals series. The Rockets shocked the Lakers in game 1 and Yao Ming was the main reason going for 28 points and coming back from an injury during the game to carry the Rockets to the win.

The Lakers win a majority of the time when Kobe does not take a ton of shots and even though Kobe went for 32 in game 1 it took him 31 shots to get there. The supporting cast of the Lakers has to step up and help Kobe out or the Rockets may pull off a huge upset in this series.

The Rockets brought in Ron Artest to play good D, especially on Kobe, and he did that last night. Andrew Bynum picked up 2 fouls in the first 3 minutes of the game and sat for a lot of the first half. He has to stay out of foul trouble and put a body on Yao and not allow him to have a big scoring game. The Lakers have to shoot the 3-point ball better tonight, as they were only 1/11 from downtown in game 1 for a weak 3-pt FG% of 11.1%.

The Rockets beat the Lakers in game 1 on Monday night 100-92. The high scorer for the Rockets in that game was Yao MIng going for 28 points on 9/17 shooting and he also grabbed 10 boards. For the game the Rockets shot 35/73 for a FG% of 47.9%. The high scorer for the Lakers in game 1 was Kobe Bryant going for 32 points on 14/31 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 39/88 for a FG% of 44.3%.

This season the ranked 3rd in scoring (106.7 ppg) and the Rocket ranked 17th (98.4 ppg). On D the Rockets ranked 7th this year in points allowed (94.4 ppg) and the Lakers ranked 13th (99.1 ppg). Both teams were legit on the boards this season, as the Lakers were at +2.6 rpg and the Rockets were at 3.1 rpg.

This season the Lakers were 42-39-1 ATS and the Rockets were 40-41-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Lakers were 41-39-1 and the Rockets were 40-41-1.

On the injury front SF Luke Walton is day to day for the Lakers and the Rockets are not reporting any significant injuries.

When asked about game 1 Kobe said, “We played really bad.” Good call Kobe, as the Lakers could not hit from downtown, were only 12/19 from the charity stripe, and only shot just above 44% from the floor.

Even though the Rockets won the game the Lakers had more rebounds, more steals, more blocks, and fewer turnovers.

For the Lakers it is simple, as they just need to shoot the rock better.

Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom really stepped up in the 2nd half of the season and killed teams that focused on stopping Kobe. In game 1 that duo only combined for 23 points on 10/22 shooting.

The Lakers have to play better D all around, as Aaron Brooks, Yao Ming, and Ron Artest all shot at last 50% from the field.

The Lakers have to be more physical tonight and get the free throw line more, as in game 1 the Rockets took 10 more free throws and made 13 more. The starters of the Rockets were 22/25 from the free throw line in game 1.

The Lakers lost in the finals last year to the Celtics because of their lack of physical play. They may lose this series for the same reason.

Andrew Bynum is now healthy and he will be counted on to give the Lakers some toughness and inside presence. He cannot allow Ming to get the ball close to the hoop, as he has to force Ming outside the lane and not give him easy shots.

Even though the Lakers are still heavy favorites in this series tonight’s game is, pretty much, a must win game, as if they head to the Lone Star State down 0-2 it will be a hard hole for the Lakers to climb out of.

Jason’s Pick: The Rockets are on fire. 10 points is a ton. I expect the Lakers to come out fired up tonight, but I gotta side with the Rockets and that fat spread!