City life The most tenured healthy Rockets - Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier - had often heard the label "Clutch City" but never about the game that sent the franchise on its way to earning the title 15 years ago Wednesday.
The Rockets came back from a 2-0 hole and a then-NBA record fourth-quarter collapse called "Choke City," beating the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 on May 13, 1994, eventually taking the second-round playoff series and the first of consecutive NBA championships.
"Clutch City I've heard since I've been here," Hayes said. " ?Choke City' - that one is new to me. It's crazy it's the anniversary. Hopefully, we can make a new memory, get this win (tonight against the Lakers) and extend the series. If we need somebody to go for 31 in the second half like Max (Vernon Maxwell) did, hey, I'm all for it."
Said Battier, "I believe in karma and the Basketball gods. If you play the right way and play hard and don't take the easy way out, the Basketball gods have a way of shining down upon you."
The Rockets went from making 10 of 29 3-pointers in Game 4 to five of 29 in Game 5, but coach Rick Adelman said the problem was as often with the shots they took as the way they shot them.
"There were times we took some ill-advised 3s early in the shot clock that we probably shouldn't have," Adelman said. "We were taking them in the game before off penetration, driving and kicking. I thought we forced some, and we shot it very poorly. Even the guys off the bench got open looks in the fourth quarter, and nothing was going down."
Ron Artest, who had topped 20 points in four straight playoff games, made eight of 33 shots over the last two, totaling 17 points.
"We need him to be much more of a factor than he was," Adelman said. "I think it is him picking and choosing his spots and us trying to find ways to get him a good opportunity. Yesterday, we ? never moved the ball. We were doing things we can't do. They were pretty much zoning up and trying to keep us from getting to the basket, and we played right into their hands."
A loss is a loss
The Rockets' 40-point loss in Game 5 matched the worst in their postseason history, but they said the Lakers' margin of victory does not matter.
"Not really," Shane Battier said. "Once we were out of it and knew we weren't going to win, we weren't concerned about the final score."
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 today, Toyota Ctr. ESPN 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish)
7* TBA Sun., Los Angeles TBA 610 AM, 850 AM (Spanish)
* - if necessary