Lakers-Rockets Without the Technicalities

Akshay MadhavanContributor IMay 4, 2009

Yes, we all know the Lakers have the superstar and the HOF coach, the Rockets have the perimeter defense and the center. What do we not know but?

1. Brandon Roy is better than Kobe Bryant and LeBron James: So maintains Ron Artest. In one of the most amazing statements you'll hear all season long, Artest was quoted as saying Brandon Roy was the best player he had ever guarded.

The number of ways in which to decipher this statement right before Artest squares off with Kobe are countless, so we're all left to come up with our own connotations. Is Artest trying to get Kobe to take 25 shots a game, come out of his good teammate mode and become the Kobe of 2005-06?

Or is he such a good friend of Kobe's and wants him to win so badly he's consciously provoking his buddy to play with fire?

While he was at it, Ron-Ron also claimed Bryant had only recently begun to play defense ("the last 2-3 years.")

Is this to get Kobe to expend considerable energy on the defensive end in guarding Artest or Battier (and hence lower his offensive capabilities) or (in keeping with the good friend angle) to get him to shut the Rockets down so that he has a clear path to the Finals?


2. Yao Ming doesn't know what "underdog" means: Ming professes to not know what this unique English term signifies, but assures everybody that he is "used to it."

With his pal and supposed franchise player for the Rockets T-Mac so constantly out of the team, Yao has had his fair share of burden carrying and underdog being. So believe him when he says he's used to it.

As another writer on this site has said, simply because nobody gives the Rockets a chance is a good reason to give them a chance. Yao will have you know he has no qualms being an underdog, whatever that means.


3. Jordan Farmar: When was the last time a promising point guard and potential starter was turned into a non-entity by an unknown, unheralded and lesser of the two players got in exchange for a salary dumping trade?

Shannon Brown has been quite a revelation, hasn't he? And with D-Fish on his last legs and almost definitely expected to pack it in with speedy rookie Aaron Brooks coming hard at him, Brown holds the key at PG for the Lakers.


4. Shane Battier is Mace Windu: Michael Lewis' NYT article, which made Battier look like some kind of super-species hybrid playing a mortal's game, would've been Kobe Bryant's bedtime reading over the last week and he knows he's got his hands full.

Apparently the smartest and most astute basketball player without even knowing it, Battier is sure to give the Lakers constant headaches with his Jedi-like abilities. The force is rather strong with him.

The Lakers can only hope Battier is in fact Anakin Skywalker(suddenly turned to the dark side with a few ill chosen three-point attempts) and Luke Walton is you know who....


5. Bynum rearing to go for first time in life: When the Lakers refused to "ship his ass out", Andrew "Let's injure that knee" Bynum knew he had to get better. He got into shape and actually became interested in playing the game, but amazing bad luck with injuries has got him down time and again.

Asked now to provide the defense, rebounding and toughness the Lakers lacked during last year's run, Bynum has got a few tests in store for him when he goes up against people who are used to be underdogs.


6. Rick Adelman remembers 2002 :All thanks to Tim Donaghy, Rick Adelman was reminded of his old team the Sacramento Kings and their stuff of legend 2002 WCF 7 game series against the Lakers under Phil Jackson.

Of course, Adelman had no other reason to remember that series. Uncontroversial, staid series, full of one-sided wins and the opposing team sneaked through without any players of note, without any luck, and with a little-known coach, too right?

Adelman doesn't know what the word revenge means, so calm down. All because of Donaghy's allegations people think this means something to poor old Rick.

Lakers in 6. Let the fun begin.