April 24, 2013
LA Lakers defeat the Houston Rocket’s and take 7th seed
Lakers will take on the Spurs while Rockets will face the Thunder in the first round.
By Stephen Lars
For a moment there, we were unsure whether the LA Lakers were even going to be able to make it into the Playoffs. They were in a tough battle with the Utah Jazz for the last playoffs berth in the Western Conference. Now, considering that the Jazz fell earlier that night against the 86-70 against the Memphis Grizzlies and lost any chance of making it into the Playoffs, it was now up to the Lakers and Rockets to decide whether they would face the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the Playoffs. And, at least on paper, the Spurs would be the winner’s choice.
They were in a tough battle with the Utah Jazz for the last playoffs berth in the Western Conference.
The Lakers, playing without their biggest star and most prolific scorer Kobe Bryant, who is out for the next nine months with a thorn Achilles tendon, had to go into overtime to beat the Houston Rockets. The often criticized for been soft, Spaniard Pau Gasol, finished off the night with a triple-double with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists. He got some help from Dwight Howard, who finished off the night with 16 points and 18 rebounds as the Lakers defeated their home court and take a 99-95 overtime win against the Houston Rockets.
Steve Blake had another great game, particularly behind the arc. He finished off the night with 24 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and kept this team rolling despite playing once again without Steve Nash nor Kobe, and uprooting the Rockets from the 7th seed to win a first round playoffs matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. "I'm proud of the whole team and the way they stepped up at the end of the year," said Blake, who had yet another great game in Bryant’s second game off the courts. "We definitely expected more at the beginning of the year, but we're proud we're here. ... I couldn't believe it when a couple of days ago somebody said we even had a chance to be in the seventh spot, and now we're there."
James Harden guided the Houston Rockets with 30 points and 8 rebounds. But it would be Chandler Parson who would make the highlight reel as he made one of those see-it-to-believe-it three point shot to beat the buzzer and force the game into overtime. Parsons added 23 points for the Rockets who will now have to face the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. They could have managed to play a whole different opponent in the first round as they were also fighting for the 6th seed, but the Golden State Warriors defeated the Portland Trailblazers earlier, but Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker on the Rockets.
The Rockets are thrilled to be back on the Playoffs after a three-year absence. Let’s only hope that Harden can prove to be as effective with the Rockets in the Playoffs as he was with the Thunder last year. "If we play their pace, their two big guys just control the game after a while," Houston coach Kevin McHale said in the postgame press conference. "We went through some stretches where we struggled offensively. We were stopping them, but they were just getting second and third shots. That killed us."
Stephen Lars is a prominent sports blogger and currently covers the Sports news, previews and handicaps for the BetIAS Sportsbook. You may reprint this article in its full content, please note no modifications to it are accepted.