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2009 NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, Game 2

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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 1 - 1 Houston Rockets

GAME 2: L.A. Lakers 111 - Houston Rockets 98

Lakers prove they can be aggressive, maybe too aggressive.

Leaders Points Rebounds Assists
Lakers Bryant: 40 Gasol: 14 Walton: 5
Rockets Artest: 25 Yao/Landry: 10 Artest: 5
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
LAL 39 18 29 25 111
HOU 25 32 20 21 98
click for Lakers 2009 Playoff pictures (LA Daily News), Western Conference Semifinals vs. Houston Rockets Game 2
Picture Gallery (LAT)

May 6 - STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES. The Lakers wanted to be more aggressive in this series but trying to match Houston's physicality they crossed the line that divides toughness with violence. And they weren't needing it because Kobe Bryant had a superb game to lead them to a 111-98 victory to tie it 1-1.

Kobe ended with 40 points shooting 59.2 % and provided what would surely be one of the highlights of the 2009 Playoffs when he throw a pass to himself of the backboard. Pau Gasol added 22 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and did a great job on Yao Ming who got into foul trouble in the first half and ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Kobe was unstoppable from the beginning and had 15 points in a first quarter the Lakers dominated 39-25. In the second they lost a 15-point lead and went to halftime tied 57-57 only thanks Kobe's 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.

The Lakers took the lead again with a 16-4 run to start the third but in their desire to prove they are a tough team, things went out of control at the end of the period. Luis Scola exchanged words with Odom and Walton and in the next play Derek Fisher (yes Derek Fisher) was called for a flagrant foul "two" and ejected for throwing an elbow (and body) as Scola was coming to set a screen on him near the top of the key. It was completely unnecessary, L.A. was leading 86-75 at the time and Fisher left his team without its starting point guard for the fourth quarter and will surely be suspended for game 3.

Later, in the fourth Kobe, who was was being pushed and fouled from behind by Artest throw an elbow at him. Artest was called for a foul, got mad, ran across the court to get Kobe and was ejected with 6:57 remaining. That play was crucial for the game because Artest was leading the Rockets with his 25 points and 5 assists but although the referees didn't saw the elbow, the NBA will review the images and if they consider it was above Artest's shoulders they could suspend the Lakers star as they did with Dwight Howard last week. Kobe taking the risk of being suspended has no explanation because he was completely dominating the game and neither Artest nor Battier were going able to stop him. He had also put an elbow and knee on the head of a fallen Battier in game 1. Kobe is the best player in the NBA despite what MVP votes say and the Lakers are the best team here and they should prove it playing good basketball.

Jordan Farmar, who almost hasn't played lately took Fisher's place in the final period and was good matching up with Aaron Brooks quickness. Odom replaced Andrew Bynum in the Lakers’ starting lineup. Bynum couldn't stay out of foul trouble again, committed 3 fouls and was scoreless with one rebound in 8 minutes. So tense was atmosphere of the game that Von Wafer was also "ejected" from it but not by the referees. He was sent to locker-room by his own coach Rick Adelman after an exchange of words.

The Quotes

Phil Jackson (LAL Coach): We held the second half pretty well, The end of the third quarter we started to regain our purpose and unfortunately the end of that quarter was an erratic ending. It took a lot of air out of the whole game.

Kobe Bryant (Lakers): "To be honest with you I think it's great, I don't think he (Artest) should have been kicked out of it. It's good, competitive basketball. He's not going to back down. He knows I'm not going to back down. It's what makes playoff basketball. Period."

Derek Fisher (Lakers): "He (Scola), Yao and Landry ... for some reason they get to tee off on the little guys up there when they're coming to set screens, I knew he was coming. I was going to give a good, hard foul, with no intent to harm or injure anyone." ... "I don't agree with an ejection, but I understand Joe's (Crawford the referee) position and wanting to get the game under control. Hopefully there won't be any suspensions involved."

Ron Artest (Rockets): "I knew I was going to get a technical foul. The point was to let the refs know this guy was elbowing me, I know I went over there with no punches, no shoves to the face, just a confrontation. I told him, `You're hitting the wrong person. Don't you know you're hitting Ron Artest?' I'm not retaliating, I'm done with that."

Highlights

Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets
Leaders: Pts Reb Ast St Bl More
Kobe Bryant 40 6 3 1 -  
Pau Gasol 22 14 4 - 4  
Derek Fisher 12 2 2 1 1 ejected
Trevor Ariza 8 3 3 - 1  
Lamar Odom 7 11 4 1 1  
Leaders: Pts Reb Ast St Bl More
Ron Artest 25 3 5 2 - ejected
Carl Landry 21 10 - - -  
Aaron Brooks 13 2 2 - 1  
Yao Ming 12 10 2 - -  
Luis Scola 12 4 - - -  

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