Friday , May , 15 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Letdown: Lakers Lose Game 6

Letdown: Lakers Lose Game 6

After Game Five, I wondered which version of the Los Angeles Lakers would show up for the pivotal Game 6 in Houston: Would it be the team that failed to put the Rockets on a 3-1 hole in Game Four, or the club that crushed the Rockets in Game Five.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, it was the former.

The Lakers suffered a poor first quarter and never completely recovered. The result? A 95-80 loss and a ticket to a decisive Game 7 on April 17 at Los Angeles.

The Lakers played adequate defense against the Rockets but were stifled on the offensive end. They shot a poor 35% from the field and almost none of their three-balls were falling. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 32 points, but had an awful shooting night. The rest of the Lakers starters did not have significant contributions.

The team did have a surge in the third quarter, even cutting the Rockets’ lead to two points, but Aaron Brooks took over the game and never got closer than 6 points. The Lakers failed to stop some key opponents: Carl Landry was perfect from the field (6 for 6) and Luis Scola led the early rally that sank the Lakers in the opening quarter.

This loss puts the Lakers in a very iffy position: I think no one doubts the team’s ability to win, but it seems they need a significant amount of motivation (a 0-1 series hole, a loss that stings their egos, etc.) to actually take a game in this series. It seems like they are more interested in avenging a loss than proactively going for a win.

The Rockets are depleted, short, and scrappy– a team that the Lakers are not and an unlikely team to take the Lakers seven games. Let’s see if the Lakers can be motivated enough to gun for the prize in Game Seven, rather than avenging Game Six.

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