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2009 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, Game 1

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Los Angeles Lakers

2009 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

Series Index:

Game 1: Rockets 100, Lakers 92 at L.A. Game recap & pictures
Game 2: Lakers 111, Rockets 98 at L.A.   Game recap & pictures
Game 3: Lakers 108, Rockets 94 at Houston   Game recap & pictures
Game 4: Rockets 99, Lakers 87 at Houston   Game recap & pictures
Game 5: Lakers 118, Rockets 78 at L.A.   Game recap & pictures
Game 6: Rockets 95, Lakers 80 at Houston   Game recap & pictures
Game 7: Lakers 89, Rockets 70 at L.A.   Game recap & pictures

Back to Playoffs 2009

Los Angeles Lakers 0 - 1 Houston Rockets

GAME 1: Rockets 100 - L.A. Lakers 92

Houston took advantage of the Lakers' bad shooting night.

Leaders Points Rebounds Assists
Lakers Bryant: 32 Gasol: 13 Bryant/Gasol: 4
Rockets Yao: 28 Yao: 10 Artest: 7
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
LAL 18 22 27 25 100
HOU 18 22 27 25 92
click for Lakers 2009 Playoff pictures (LA Times), Western Conference Semifinals vs. Houston Rockets Game 1
Picture Gallery (LAT)

May 4 - STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES. Kobe Bryant shot too bad in the first half, the Lakers shot too bad all game long and the Rockets won 100-92 to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conferences Semis.

In a game that was much more physical than any from the Utah series, the Lakers looked rusted after one week of rest. Andrew Bynum, back in the starting lineup, committed 2 fouls in the first 3 minutes and ended with 10 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Kobe had 32 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists but missed 7 of 11 shots in the first half. He got more assertive in the third quarter but it wasn't enough. The Lakers shot a 44.3 % from the field, a pathetic 2-for-18 (11.1%) from behind the three point line and made only 12 of 19 free throws.

Yao Ming had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Ron Artest added 21 points and second-year point guard Aaron Brooks was too quick for L.A. to handle and had 19 for the Rockets, who went to halftime with a 3-point margin, made it 59-50 six minutes into the third and kept their composure when Kobe started making jumper after jumper. He scored 11 of the Lakers next 14 points and Jordan Farmar's 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining made it 67-70 for L.A. going into fourth.

Four minutes into the final period two free throws by Shannon Brown gave L.A. a 77-76 lead but Kobe started misfiring again and Houston scored the next 9 points to took a lead they would never lose again. Then Houston lived their scary moment when Kobe and Yao collided and the Rockets center fell to the court, grabbing his right knee in pain. He limped off the court and into the tunnel but returned a couple of minutes later. Then L.A. tried to stop the clock by making fouls but it didn't work. The Rockets scored their last 11 points with free throws (6 by Yao) going 11-for-12.

In the closing seconds of the first quarter Sasha Vujacic swatted a loose ball over Shane Battier, hitting him in the face with his movement. Blood started to stream down Battier's face (and down to the floor) and he needed four stitches to close a gash over his left eye.

Bryant, who finished second to LeBron James in NBA MVP voting, played dispite missing practice on Sunday with a sore throat. He scored 22 of the Lakers’ final 42 points.

The Quotes

Phil Jackson (LAL Coach): "I don't know if we can play much worse, to be honest with you,"..."I didn’t like the start of the game at all, I didn’t like our poise, our control, the way we tried to execute our offense or not execute our offense, little things that we have to do better.”

Kobe Bryant (Lakers): "We played really bad, shot the ball horrendously from the 3-point line, A lot of that was desperation at the end, but still, we missed a lot. We shot horribly from the free throw line.”

Pau Gasol (Lakers): "Our shooting was pretty poor, I would say. Maybe that affected us a little too much and carried to the other end of the floor. I'm sure we're going to shoot a lot better during the series and the next game."

Yao Ming (Rockets): “My knee feels fine, thanks for asking, there's no need to worry about it. I just need to put ice on it. Tonight I think my team had a great night. Everybody came out with a very active attitude. I think Ron Artest and Shane Battier did a great job guarding Kobe. Everybody played very unselfish.”

Highlights

Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets
Leaders: Pts Reb Ast St Bl More
Kobe Bryant 32 8 4 2 - 1/7 3pt
Pau Gasol 14 13 4 3 1 6/14 fg
Trevor Ariza 10 4 1 2 1  
Andrew Bynum 10 3 1 - - 15 min
Lamar Odom 9 5 3 1 2  
Leaders: Pts Reb Ast St Bl More
Yao Ming 28 10 - 1 2  
Ron Artest 21 3 7 1 -  
Aaron Brooks 19 2 2 - 1  
Luis Scola 10 8 3 2 -  
Carl Landry 7 2 - - -  

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