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Notes from Rockets Practice

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

LOS ANGELES -- Maybe they're pumping nitrous oxide into the Clippers training facility in Playa Vista, where the Houston Rockets are practicing while in Los Angeles, but if the Rockets were any looser, they'd be unconscious. Even the normally reserved and media-shy Kyle Lowry was flashing smiles and entertaining reporters.

"I've been dreaming about this," Lowry said. "Second round, game five, playing against the Lakers and Kobe Bryant! It gets no better." Lowry's response tailed off with a little chuckle.

Meanwhile, the word fun surfaced ten times in Aaron Brooks' four minute schmooze with the press -- but not without a disclaimer. "I just found out that funner is not a word," Brooks said.

Asked how Brooks will deal with what will inevitably be a much more aggressive brand of pick-and-roll defense from the Lakers, Brooks with utter cool answered, "I'll pass the ball."

Brooks then cracked a smile and continued. "If they're doubling me then, if my math is right...hmmm...[stroking his chin professorially]...that's our four against their three. If they rush two at me, I hope one of them is slow, and I'll attack that person."

Brooks might be a court jester, but he's no fool. "We just have to attack them," Brooks said. "Chuck [Hayes] can make plays. He's a better ball-handler than Yao is."

As Lowry and Brooks held court, the Rockets' big men engaged in a fierce half-court shooting contest that was going nowhere, but was incredibly entertaining. Off to the side, Shane Battier answered a question about whether it bothered him that his political hero, Barack Obama, picked North Carolina in the NCAA tournament. "So did I," Battier confessed. "We're trying to putt for dough here, not drive for show."

Battier then went on to credit the Rockets' cult status among stat geeks to Rockets' general manager, Daryl Morey. "It's who we are," Battier said. "I don't think we're going to get the love of the six foot blonde bombshell. That's what the Lakers are here for. It's alright, I like our demographic."