Worth repeating The team leading at the end of the first quarter won each of the first 10 Rockets playoff games, a statistic that Rockets coach Rick Adelman said he could not explain but planned to repeat before Tuesday's Game 5.
"I don't know, but I'm going to bring that up, though," Adelman said when asked if that was a revealing trend or a statistical fluke. "It has to mean something. I think it is important for us to get off to a good start. That's an item we already talked about."
Rockets players said it could be as much a reminder of the need to persevere as to get off to a fast start.
"In Game 2, they started well at home and started really well in Game 3," Ron Artest said. "We started well in Game 1 and Game 4. I think there is a mental toughness on both teams' part that even if the other team starts out well, to be tough enough to weather the storm and get back in the game."
Said Shane Battier: "We want to make it a 48-minute game, take our best shot, play loose, take our shots, hang around and make it close."
With the Rockets' red jackets becoming something of a sensation, particularly since Aaron Brooks wore one with a matching bow tie to Game 4, the Rockets plan to make them available at the Rockets Shop.
The team is discussing with the NBA what sort of donation can be made to the Shane Battier Foundation based on sales of the jackets Battier originated when he was hurt in December.
"Our organization, customers and fans love the red jackets," Rockets CEO Tad Brown said. "We're going to work with Shane to figure out how we can expand on that concept.
"We have had hundreds and hundreds of requests for the jackets."
Brooks, however, does not plan to reprise the look.
"I'm not wearing that jacket again, or that tie," he said.
Odom suits up
Lakers forward Lamar Odom was out of the starting lineup for Game 5 with back spasms, but did suit up. Odom injured his back in a hard fall during Sunday's Game 4 and was moving gingerly during Tuesday's shootaround.
"The back is an area you really can't protect," coach Phil Jackson said. "We know he's improving and that's important. How far we want to take, it is a decision he has to make."
Odom's absence meant Andrew Bynum was back in the starting lineup and scored the Lakers' first six points.
One to remember
With Lakers forward Lamar Odom battling a bruised back, Ron Artest said he has his own injury problems, though he seemed to find them amusing.
"Injuries are not something I like to be part of - even though Kobe (Bryant) injured my shoulder," Artest said with a laugh while icing his sore left shoulder. "It's better now. I'm making sure it stays good. "How many people can say they got Kobe Bryant on them? He did everything to me. I don't need to repeat it. It was fun."
Lakers lead series 3-2
Gm. Result Top scorer Top rebounder
1 Rockets 100, Lakers 92 Bryant 32 Gasol 13
2 Lakers 111, Rockets 98 Bryant 40 Gasol 14
3 Lakers 108, Rockets 94 Bryant 33 Yao 14
4 Rockets 99, Lakers 87 Brooks 34 Scola 14
5 Lakers 118, Rockets 78 Bryant 26 Gasol, Scola 13
Gm. When/where TV Radio
6 8:30 Thu., Toyota Ctr. ESPN 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish)
7* TBA Sun., Los Angeles TBA 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish)
* - if necessary