Houston at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET -- The AP reports: Kobe Bryant missed practice Sunday because of a sore throat, which raised few worries among the Los Angeles Lakers. If anything, it might just mean a little less trash talk between Bryant and Ron Artest when the Lakers host the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night... The top-seeded Lakers were off a week after eliminating the Utah Jazz in five games and waiting for the fifth-seeded Rockets to finish off Portland in six games. Houston advanced to the second round for the first time since 1997. The most intriguing matchup, of course, will be Bryant, the reigning league MVP, against Artest and Shane Battier... Los Angeles won the season series 4-0, dominating the fourth quarter of each game. Bryant averaged 28.3 points... Andrew Bynum, the Lakersí former starting center, could see more playing time to help defend Yao Ming.
C'mon Lakers. Let's get this ball rolling now that the Jazz are silent. And that ball will ultimately lead to the gold one!!!!!
Rockets will be a much better matchup with a true 7 footer anchoring the paint and a gritty defensive match-up. However, we are too strong and I think the Lakers will have a different intensity with Houston than Utah. Houston is the better team, but we take it in 6. Wouldn't be shocked if it went 7 though