Battier bests Kobe to keep L.A. losing streak alive

By: 12.02.10

The Houston broadcast guys put it best: “Shane Battier looks like Kobe Bryant.” Four games, four losses in a row for the Lakers, and now the NBA’s preeminent nice guy is playing like the NBA’s preeminent assassin. Battier (17 pts, 4 threes) took over the fourth quarter last night in Houston, leading a 22-6 charge to end the game and give the Rockets a 109-99 win over the Lakers … Unable to shake the feisty Rockets through the first three quarters, it all unraveled in the last few minutes for the defending champs. After Kobe (27 pts) hit an impossible jumper over Battier to put L.A. up by six, Battier hit back-to-back corner threes and beat Kobe for a one-dribble pull-up J as Houston built a five-point cushion. The Lakers missed their last eight shots of the game, a lot of them long treys, as they lost their fourth straight game for the first time since April 2007 (pre-Pau Gasol) … Speaking of, Gasol needs the rock. He only got 8 shot attempts on the night, and finished with 8 points. Any time Pau Gasol and Chuck Hayes are even-up in scoring, something is wrong. We saw this small Houston lineup when they played the Knicks at MSG recently, and the Knicks had the right idea by constantly attacking the rim and working the ball inside. Gasol should have had at least 25 points … Phil Jackson on watching LeBron James return to Cleveland: “That’s not of interest to me. I hate to listen to the Cleveland broadcast. Their announcers are so loud on the court. It’s just an obnoxious place.” You could call it bulletin board material, but it’s not like the Lakers have to worry about the Cavs anymore … At this point, doesn’t it seem silly that Russell Westbrook almost didn’t make the USA World Championship squad? With Kevin Durant in a suit on the bench, Westbrook was again dominant last night, putting up an obscene 38 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists in OKC’s triple-overtime win at New Jersey … After Anthony Morrow‘s off-balance, buzzer-beating three tied it at the end of the fourth quarter, the Nets jumped out to early leads in the first two OT sessions. Not trying climb uphill in the third OT, Westbrook took over. He scored all 13 of the Thunder’s points in the last overtime, including a putback of his own miss where he got the rebound over Kris Humphries, then a drive past Travis Outlaw where he muscled in a layup and-one over Brook Lopez. Westbrook also came up with huge steal down the stretch … Apparently Derek Fisher Syndrome is contagious, because Westbrook did most of his damage against former Laker Jordan Farmar. He was filling in for the injured Devin Harris

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