Sunday , May , 17 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers Destroy Rockets in Game 7, Advance to West Finals

Lakers Destroy Rockets in Game 7, Advance to West Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers played Game Seven of their Western Conference Semi-final against the Houston Rockets with a great sense of urgency.

The result? The game everyone expected as the series started: a dominating Lakers win, 89-70.

The Lakers roared to a fast start and never looked back. They raced to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and ground the Rockets in the paint. The lead ballooned to 20 by halftime and the outcome was decided early in the final quarter when the Lakers led by 24 points, 56-82. The lead grew to as much as 31 points, and the Lakers eventually showed some mercy and let the Rockets score the final ten points of the game.

The game looked so distant from the Rockets’ stinging upset in Game One. In this game, the Lakers took advantage of their side to the point that match looked like The Incredible Hulk versus Robin the Boy Wonder. To wit: the Lakers held a 55-33 rebounding edge and a 10-3 blocks advantage. Not to mention that interior defense was so effective in the game that the Rockets were relegated in to a jump-shooting team. Unfortunately for the Rockets, their shots weren’t falling (37% shooting).

Pau Gasol was the MVP of the game with 21 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks. Andrew Bynum bounced back from a poor Game Six, and finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds. For the game, Gasol and Bynum outscored and out-rebounded the Rockets’ frontline.

And Kobe Bryant? He played a restrained game, shooting poorly (33%) but was effective in distriburiting the ball and playing lock-down defense. After Gasol, Kobe had the best +/- stat for the evening.

By any measure, Game Seven was a dominating game for the Lakers where their depth and strength shined. When  their heart is in the game and their focus is pin-point, the Lakers have demonstrated that they can destroy an opponent completely on both ends of the court. The question for them is how do they harness their collective focus and never lose interest on the game?

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