It takes a half a dozen overtime to trample the 7th seeded bulls and an injured Mcgrady, a bruised and bloody Shane Battier who had to undergo stitches after being hit by Vujajic and a depleted lineup, it takes more than that to flatten the Houston Rockets. The Lakers know that now after being out gunned on their first second round playoffs meeting.
Losing Tracy Mcgrady might have been the greatest thing that happened to the Rockets. Occasionally the offense and the versatility of Mcgrady was surely missed but with his departure due to a micro fracture injury on his left knee, Houston has stabilized their offense and have greatly matured especially in ending games when they rely more on their teamwork rather than doing an isolation play on Mcgrady.
The departure of Rafer Alston to free agency and the carjacking of Carl Landry which almost cause him his career have almost rolled everything into the Rocket’s fate. Losing Alston have made a significant role to Aaron Brooks who plays superbly well in the playoffs and Landry is a monster in the board grabbing offensive and defensive rebounds in the process playing like it was his last game in Earth. Houston finally escaped the ghost of the past after being eliminated in the first round for years they dominated the young and talented Portland Blazers with Yao Ming and Ron Artest anchoring the needed offense. The Rockets paraded a complete offense with Yao and Luis Scola on the post kicking out to Brooks, Artest and Battier on the wing with Wafer and Landry waiting for their time on the bench. Their defense is not so bad either with two of the most defensive guards in the league combining forces. They neutralized Brandon Roy’s offense and now they are doing it again against Kobe which resulted with 32 points but needed 31 shots in return.
Game 2 resulted with a convincing win by the Lakers leveling the series with one apiece. Yao had foul trouble throughout the game and Artest and Fisher were ejected in the second half. Kobe scored 40 points and the self proclaim Kobe stopper Shane Battier was in no contest throughout the game. Yao was a foot slow against Pau Gasol and the Lakers has shaken their second round jitters after resting almost a week before their encounter.
How much will the Rockets take? With Yao still nursing his right knee and Artest on the verge of suspension its fate has slowly turned a bit sour. For sure it would take a much much bigger fight for the Lakers because even stitches, a microfracture injury, a car jacking, trades and suspension didn’t stop them how else would?