The Lakers continued their inconsistent play last night, falling behind big, coming back to almost tie, then falling flat in the 4th quarter. One thing that stuck out in my mind in the 4th quarter was how many times the Rockets ran the same play over and over, Aaron Brooks off a Luis Scola ball screen and Brooks scoring or dishing over and over. The Lakers did not change a single thing in how they defended it, from the first time Brooks did it, all the way until the end of the game. Here are 3 sequences from the 2nd half,

Couple of things to consider:

- While Aaron Brooks is a decent shooter, he's a slasher. So why go over top of the screen every single time?
- The Lakers are vulnerable defensively against a quick penetration point guard. Neither Fischer, nor Brown, nor Farmer, are capable of staying with Brooks. Farmar is hip to hip at the top of the key but Brooks blows by him and goes right at Gasol for the hoop,

I am really surprised the Lakers didn't decide to either trap the ball-screen, go underneath all ball-screens with Brooks, or switch defenders. The Lakers had some real momentum going into the 4th quarter but their inability to stop Brooks from getting into the lane really cost them late in the game.


I believe the Lakers will win Game 7 tomorrow, mainly because they'll be playing at home. With the up and down play of the Lakers, I think the Rockets don't get enough credit for winning the games as opposed to the Lakers losing the games. In many ways, they play tougher without Yao Ming because they know they can't rely on his scoring. They know that they have to grind out every single basket on offense, and play stronger 1v1 defense.

For more on PNR and ball screen offenses, take a look at Ben Braun's DVD on Ball Screening. Ben Braun is the head coach at Rice University. Be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk about your favorite basketball topics.