Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
LA's Kobe Bryant, with the ball, scored at crucial times.
LA's Kobe Bryant, with the ball, scored at crucial times.
LA's Kobe Bryant, with the ball, scored at crucial times.

No Fisher is no issue for Lakers

The Lakers were on their best behaviour - no ejections, no technical fouls and hardly any trash-talking. What's more, they also played a good game.

The Lakers were on their best behaviour - no ejections, no technical fouls and hardly any trash-talking. What's more, they also played a good game. It was almost boring compared to the fireworks of Game Two, but the Los Angeles Lakers could not care less, working towards a methodical 108-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on a night where no one threw an elbow and nobody sprinted across the court to get in Kobe Bryant's face.

With the suspended Derek Fisher watching Game Three in his room at the team hotel, the Lakers took a 2-1 series lead and regained the home-court advantage on Friday at Toyota Center. Game Four in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final is in Houston tonight. The match did not end well for the Rockets, with Yao Ming limping off the court in the final minute because of a sore foot and Ron Artest getting ejected shortly thereafter, possibly because of a sore ego.

Artest pushed Pau Gasol as the Lakers' centre-forward moved in for a lay-up or dunk with 43.6 seconds to play. The league will review the play today and determine if a suspension is necessary. That the Lakers played well in Houston was not overly surprising - they were 5-2 here over the last four seasons - but they played a more defensive game. They logged more steals than the Rockets (11-2) and more blocked shots (9-3), besides holding the Rockets to 41.7 per cent shooting.

Bryant did not shoot well, scoring 33 points on 11-for-28 shooting, though he made some important ones, starting with a 33ft three-pointer to end the third quarter that gave the Lakers a 74-62 lead. "We kind of finished the quarter off on the right way," Bryant said. The Lakers outscored the Rockets in the fourth quarter, 34-32, making 17 of 22 free-throw attempts. Bryant's three-pointer with one second left on the shot clock gave the Lakers a 95-84 lead with 2:21 to play, and a dunk by Lamar Odom (16 points, 13 rebounds) off a miss by Bryant effectively sealed it, giving the Lakers a 97-86 lead with 1:22 to play.

In the final seconds, Bryant spoke animatedly with courtside Rockets fans who presumably were not congratulating him on his game. Later, as Yao limped to the bench in obvious pain with 52.5 seconds left, it looked as though the Lakers had finally gained some traction in the series after throwing away the opener at home. "There is nothing to say," the Rockets' Argentine forward Luis Scola said. "They played better, and they deserved to win, and that's why they won."

Yao had 19 points and initially injured his foot near the end of the second quarter. He aggravated it after stepping on players' shoes on two other occasions. He said: "Right now, all I know is that my ankle's sore." Jordan Farmar played well in place of Fisher, collecting 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds, enough for the Lakers coach Phil Jackson to say his game was "stellar". He said: "Fish will come back and claim his spot - that's the way it is - and Jordan's game will certainly be noted."

* With agencies

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National