Lakers Versus Houston Rockets Starts This NBA Season

The Lakers open the 2014-5 NBA season tomorrow evening at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets, one year and one day from last season’s first game in which they upset the Clippers, giving undue and unearned hope to the fans of a team destined to endure a dismal season. The same thing could well happen tomorrow – the Lakers just might surprise the Rockets, the fans, and themselves, and beat Houston, but that by no means should give, once again, false hope for a successful season.

First and foremost, the Lakers start the season featuring the return of an apparently fully healed Kobe Bryant, and in what will be the first meeting of Bryant and his one-time and

short-time teammate, the laughing man, Deee-Wight Howard, if intensity, motivation, a will to win matter, it should be the Lakers and Kobe showing up Howard and the Rockets.

For this to happen, the Lakers' front line will have to find some way to defend against Deee-Wight, who, of course, cannot hit a shot from more than three feet from the basket, but who, against tough but undersized Jordan Hill,
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Carlos Boozer, and rookie Julius Randle, figures to get about two dozen shots from inside three feet. At 7 feet and 270, Robert Sacre matches up the best, but he can be counted on for about ten minutes of stout defense before fouling out.

Nine days after beating the Clippers in last season’s opener, the Lakers traveled to Houston, and without Kobe, beat the Rockets by a single point. That Rockets’ team lost despite 35 points from James Harden, 16 from now Lakers’ starting point guard Jeremy Lin, and another 16 from Chandler Parsons, who now chases paychecks that say “Dallas Mavericks”. Despite pulling down 14 rebounds. the laughing man had a terrible game, blocking only one shot who turning the ball over four times and committing four fouls, while scoring only 16, due in large part to his missing 11 of 16 free throw attempts. But, the

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guys that led the Lakers to their upset win were Jodie Meeks with 18 points, Steve Blake with 14, Steve Nash with 12, and Jordan Farmar, with 11, all of whom are now either playing elsewhere, or sitting back and letting his checks roll in.

Can Lakers' guards score 58 tomorrow? Kobe and Lin would need big nights, as the only healthy backup on the squad is rookie Jordan
Clarkson, with Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington now both joining the ranks of the injured. Of course, the Lakers should never have been in the position to need either one of those guys on the team, but, like I’ve said several times over the off-season, it likes like this roster was assembled by a roomful of monkeys, with an abundance of forwards, power and small, one true center who is no more than a back-up, and one shooting guard.

But yet, I really think, in opening a season where they will have to struggle to better last season’s 27-55 record, they just might beat the overrated laughing man and his Houston teammates, once again.

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