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News » Rockets a good lesson for OKC

Rockets a good lesson for OKC

Rockets a good lesson for OKC
May 5, 2009 (The Daily Oklahoman delivered by Newstex ) --

While you were sleeping, the Houston Rockets beat the Lakers 100-92 Monday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal, and while I certainly expect LA to win their series, nothing about it will be easy.

Houston is a great teaching tool for the rest of the NBA. Play defense, and good things happen. The Rockets have two of the sports best all-purpose defenders: Shane Battier and Ron Artest. They have a 7-foot-5 skyscraper in Yao Ming. They have a bunch of guys. Aaron Brooks and Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola and Carl Landry.

Houstons franchise player, Tracy McGrady, is hurt and out of the playoffs. Yet the Rockets have advanced ? and are up 1-0 on the Lakers ? because they play defense.

The Thunder has some wondrous young talent. But the Thunder must adapt Houstons defensive mentality to take huge strides in the NBA. Kobe Bryant was great for the Lakers on Monday night, with 32 points in 44 minutes. But check inside the box score. Bryant made 14 of 31 shots, which is solid, but had just five foul shots, making three.

Bryant can run a defender ragged, and what often happens is a lot of fouls. You cant foul Kobe. Change his line to 14 of 31 and 11-of-15 foul shots, and suddenly hes got 40 points and this game is in overtime. Battier, particularly, is a smart, savvy defender. Ive read where Battier says he isnt bothered by how many points Kobe scores. He just wants to make him work for them.

Work. Thats the key. The Rockets go to work on the court. I dont know if they can beat the Lakers four times. But if they can, it will be because of defense. Its a mentality Oklahoma City would be wise to adopt.

Newstex ID: 34660450

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 6, 2009


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