2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

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Lakers Rockets 2009

2009 Lakers Rockets Playoff Matchup

In 2009 the Lakers were thought to be the team to beat. They had won over 60 games and were second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers in total wins in the NBA that year. It was thought little stood in their way between the start of the playoffs and an NBA finals appearance against the winner of the eastern conference. The experts were wrong. The Lakers Rockets playoff match up proved to be a great series and almost sent the Lakers home for the summer.

The 2009 Rockets were not considered favorites in the playoffs, in fact many thought the Lakers would beat them in five games. The Rockets were without the oft injured Tracy Mcgrady for the whole series and lost Yao Ming after game three of the series. After Yao Ming was injured many thought the series was all but over, they were in for a surprise.

Even though they were down 2-1 when they lost their superstar center, the Rockets were able to extend the series to seven games. Ron Artest was key to helping the Houston Rockets stay in this series. He played defense against anybody he was asked to cover and scored when he had to. Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest seemed to have a rivalry going on with each other during the series. The Lakers Rockets series kept NBA fans nationwide glued to their television sets waiting to see who would prevail. Many fans couldn’t believe the fight that the Rockets put up without two of their superstars.

While the series ended in game seven with a 19 point Lakers victory, many people gained a great deal of respect for the game Houston Rockets and for their superstar Ron Artest who had a never say die attitude and played hard until the very end. It seems that Ron Artest grew fond of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant during their series, as he went on to sign with the Lakers during the free agency period in the summer of 2010.

Rumors and Dis-information rule the NBA Draft talk.

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Blake Griffin NBA Draft

Rumors and Dis-information rule the NBA Draft talk.

NOTE: Niblets will become a once a month feature starting on the first Saturday in July.

How do you know if a politician is lying to you? Are his lips moving? The same thing can be said for NBA general managers and coaches leading up to draft time.

Even so, the rumors are flying and some of them are interesting. As I reported earlier this week, one has the Suns trading PF Amar’e Stoudemire to Minnesota for C/PF Al Jefferson and the 6th pick in this year’s draft. Humm! Stoudemire is coming off eye surgery and will be a free agent next season. The Suns have been trying to cut payroll for years. They have traded away their first round picks in most of the recent drafts. However, the Timberwolves have denied this rumor. The Suns might be thinking about keeping Shaq at C and making Jefferson the PF. Jefferson is not physical and could be more effective against 4s than 5s.

I wonder if that indicates that C Shaquille O’Neal may be on his way out of Phoenix? On that subject, Suns GM Steve Kerr admitted he has talked to half the teams in the league about Shaq. Cleveland seems to be the favorite so far. Anyone that will take Shaq and can give back anything the Suns can use including players that wish to retire (Ben Wallace).

Memphis is desperate to move the #2 pick. They would love to move down about 5 spots to get a big man.

“Take my shooting guard—please!” Houston is looking to dump SG Tracy McGrady and his one year 23 million dollar contract. McGrady, 29, has a lot left but has lost the confidence of the Rockets coaching staff. The team would take a bag of balls for him but NBA rules require that salaries offset. That makes McGrady hard to move.

Player X is falling faster than the Dow Jones” Don’t buy anything you hear and only about half of what you see this time of year. Interestingly enough, the reports of players falling are from teams on which the players mentioned would fit the best.

One guy in particular, PG Ricky Rubio, has been mentioned as falling the most. What did he do wrong? Nothing. No one doubts his ability on the court. The only question is the cost of the buyout of his contract in Spain. Given the economy of the US, some teams may shy away from drafting him because of the cash cost of that buyout.

The bottom line: This draft is weak overall in both blue chip can’t miss guys and in depth of quality players. There will be little real quality after pick 16.

As always, someone will hit the jackpot with a second rounder that becomes special. Another team will pick a late first rounder that will be OK or a little better than that.

A couple of the teams at the bottom of the draft will pick a foreign player that can stay in their current league for a year or two to save money.

Little guys at PG or SG will out perform big guys drafted much higher.

Other than that, nothing much is going to be special about the 2009 draft. The draft will be held on June 25.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for http://NFLDraftDog.com and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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