May 14 - HOUSTON - Their lack of effort on the defensive end was lethal again for the Lakers and they will have to go to a 7th game after the Rockets got the win 95-80 at Houston. It was their second victory without Yao Ming and against all odds they tied the series 3-3.
It was like watching game 4 again, with the Rockets giving all they got and making every shot and the Lakers just watching and playing pathetic defense. And while size is supposed to be one of the Lakers best advantages (even more without Yao) it all began with forward Luis Scola who sent Bynum, Gasol and Odom to school with his movements in the post. The Argentinean scored 14 of his playoff-career high 24 points in the first quarter showing the way for his team who took a and early 21-3 lead and won the period 27-15. Scola also took 7 of his 12 rebounds in the quarter.
The damage was done it was irreversible. With the Lakers as mere spectators the Rockets went to halftime with a 52-36 margin. L.A. started the second half with a different attitude and in the next 6 minutes outscored Houston 16-2 to get within two points 52-54. Kobe Bryant scored 7 of his 32 points in that streak but it was a little too late, the Rockets went to the fourth leading 74-65. Pau Gasol layup made it 71-79 with 7:15 left but they would never get closer. Aaron Brooks was very active again and scored 26 points, 8 of them in the final 4 minutes to keep L.A. at distance.
Among all the doubts that this loss raise for the Lakers there it is Andrew Bynum's situation. The young center who had his first solid performance in game 5 was a non-factor again. He had 0 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes playing against 6-6 forward Chuck Hayes. The other absence that is hurting the team Sasha Vujacic who can't find his outside shot.