Rockets blasts off in La La LandMay 6, 2009 by Marc Jerbs

In Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the LA Lakers were beaten by the Houston Rockets, 100-92. The win enables the Rockets to snatch the home-court advantage away from the Lakers.

Defense wins games and it certainly helped the cause of the Rockets. The Rockets clogged the lane and limited Kobe Bryant's penetration drive to the basket. They made the Lakers into a jump shooting team rather than going for the high percentage shot. The Rockets big time D gave the Lakers an atrocious 11% shooting rate from the 3-point line.

The series is not yet over for the Lakers, but they were put in a position to play catch up and are force to tie the series. First thing first, they must improve their defense especially against Yao Ming and make life difficult for Aaron Brooks in setting up Houston's offense. Improve their shooting, Derek Fisher, Trevor Ariza and Shasha Vujacic were shooting blanks in Game 1. The Lakers need to assert themselves from both ends of the court and they must have the urgency and hunger to win Game 2.

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