Lamar Odom, who finished with 17/19/9, provides a visual reminder to the upward trajectory of his play.
Pardon the quick, inelegant rush through today's news (of which there's a fair amount), but we've got a chat at 10:30 am PT to mind. And after the Lakers clamped down defensively Tuesday night, scoring a similarly inelegant-but-effective 88-79 win over those ever-pesky Houston Rockets, we can only presume there will be much to chat about. The Lakers, missing Pau Gasol (who told reporters after the game he's optimistic the injury to his left hamstring won't keep him out as long as the 11 games his right hammy cost him to start the season) were beat up in other ways, working with a rusty Ron Artest, no Luke Walton, and Kobe Bryant's perpetually abused right index finger also had a sick DJ Mbenga and Lamar Odom nursing a stomach bug.
Of course, judging from Odom's near triple-double, you'd never have known, noted Andy in his postgame wrap. LO was all over the floor, and when combined with a strong night for Andrew Bynum (24 points, eight boards) filled any gaps left by Gasol's absence, an off-by-his-standards effort for Kobe (9-23 shooting, four TOs), and a slow night from the rest of the cast.
A slow night offensively, at least. As Rockets GM Daryl Morey noted via Twitter after the game, the Lakers were stout on the other end- the Rockets missed a ton of jumpers, but all they got were jumpers- and when they defend the champs are almost impossible to beat. The Lakers, who still have to answer lingering questions about grit and toughness (some things just never go away) once again proved they can win in a slog through the mud.
More Lakers links below the jump...
ESPN Los Angeles.com's Dave McMenamin notes Morey's theories on height and length ran into some problems when faced with on-floor realities Tuesday night.
Odom was around to tee off on Houston because Jerry Buss simply wants it more, writes Kevin Ding of the OC Register, and Lakers fans should be thankful every minute of the day for it.
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com delivers an extended profile of Derek Fisher.
More from NBA.com on Kobe and clutchtacularness.
He didn't tee off Tuesday night, but Kobe still moved past Patrick Ewing into 15th place on the NBA's all time scoring list. Next up-- Jerry West. (Incidentally, that post was written by Mark Medina, who will now host the LAT's Lakers Blog on a full time basis.)
Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer celebrates the continuing dominance of Kobe and Tim Duncan.
Silver Screen and Roll provides their take on Tuesday's game, a win delivered in the form of an Ambien substitute.