Lakers Get Game 3 In Houston

When last the Lakers and the Rockets met, it was an exceptionally chippy affair that resulted in multiple technical fouls, flagrant fouls, two ejections, and ultimately, a suspension. Game 3 in Houston was physical, but was largely uneventful in that department, and behind a 33-point effort from Kobe bryant, the Lakers were able to reclaim their home court advantage in the series by coming away with a 108-94 victory.

Jordan Farmar started in place of the suspended Derek Fisher, who spent the game sending out updates from his hotel room via his Twitter account. Farmar played well with the starting unit, and his hustle and quickness were an especially good fit against the athleticism of the Rockets' Aaron Brooks. He finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in 33 minutes of action.

Kobe started off hot as he did in Game 2, and had 11 points by the time the first quarter had ended. But the Rockets were within two points, and stayed there through the end of the first half, in a tight game that was hard-fought on both sides.

The third quarter is where the Lakers have made their move all season long, and Friday night was no exception. L.A. outscored Houston 21-10 over the first 10 minutes of the period, and closed it on a long three-pointer from Kobe at the buzzer, after he had freed himself from the aggressive defense of Ron Artest.

The Rockets got as close as six points with four minutes to go in the fourth, when Farmar hit a big 18-footer along the baseline to extend the Lakers' lead back to eight. Bryant added a dagger of a three-pointer a few possessions later to effectively seal it, but there was still enough time left for Artest to get himself ejected for the second consecutive game.

With the Lakers leading by eight and just 43 seconds remaining, Pau Gasol went in for a layup on a fast break. Artest wanted to make sure Gasol didn't get an easy basket, and delivered a nice hard playoff foul that sent Gasol falling awkwardly out of bounds. The referees determined that it was a flagrant two type of foul, which meant (another) automatic ejection for Artest. The replay showed that it really wasn't that serious, however, and it will almost certainly not get him any further punishment from the league office in the form of a suspension. He probably shouldn't have even been ejected from this game, to be honest with you.

Three point shooting was a huge key for the Lakers in Game 3. They more than made up for their 2-for-18 effort in Game 1 by hitting 11 of their 20 attempts in this one, highlighted by Odom's 2-of-2, Trevor Ariza's 3-of-4 and Bryant's 4-6. The Rockets? They were just 6-for-19.

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