Lakers Game 7 recap

Here is a score-by-quarter analysis of the Lakers’ 89-70 Game 7 victory over the Rockets and some other tidbits.

FIRST QUARTER
The Lakers returned to their form in Game 5 and started with an 8-0 run. The Rockets didn’t make a field goal until a Chuck Hayes basket after 7:17 had expired. The Rockets missed their first 12 shots. The team that has led after the first quarter has won every game this series, and that didn’t change.

SECOND QUARTER
Houston, we have a problem. The Lakers were aggressive on the defensive end and forced five turnovers. Pau Gasol dominated the lane and had seven rebounds. The Lakers made 8 of 9 free throws (the Rockets had just three attempts) and went into the half with a 51-31 lead. Nuggets, anyone?

THIRD QUARTER
The Lakers didn’t do anything magnificent in this stretch, but they didn’t give up their big halftime lead, either. Bryant had three fouls. Chuck Hayes had four steals, but Houston couldn’t capitalize on those opportunities even though they all of their starters played the entire quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER
Sasha Vujacic was brilliant. He found his groove and made four of six shots in scoring nine points. Bryant played just 1:27 and didn’t want to come back in the game because of the big lead but more importantly because he wanted the bench to bask in their effectiveness. He knows the Lakers will need them this week.

HERO
Andrew Bynum
Where has this guy been? Bynum made 6 of 7 shots and score 14 points. He added six rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal. Bynum started Games 5, 6 and 7 and didn’t have to finish Game 7. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter because he’d already done enough. If Bynum played like this every game, the Lakers would be a very different team.

GOAT
Aaron Brooks
The Rockets feed off Brooks, but the point guard was cold from the start. The playmaker missed his first four shots and took only two shots in the second quarter. He scored just five points by halftime but by that time, the game was already over.

STAT
10
The Lakers changed the Rockets’ offensive gameplan with 10 blocked shots, which was not a season-best (they had 14 against Minnesota on March 6). Every starter had at least two blocked shots, with the exception of Derek Fisher, of course. Pau Gasol had three, including one against Luis Scola in the game’s first minute. Houston couldn’t find a rhythm offensively. No wonder.

QUOTE
“That we’re bipolar.”
Kobe Bryant, on what the Lakers learned from their roller-coaster series with Houston

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.