Del from Pacific Palisades, go ahead.
Beating the so-called experts to the issue, Coach Del Harris was busy explaining his defensive strategy for Hakeem Olajuwon before the series even started, mostly how the Lakers would be giving many different looks in hopes of keeping the Rockets off balance. Some single coverage from Vlade Divac or Elden Campbell, some sending an extra man to the post, some showing double team and then holding off.
"Everybody would like to simplify it," Harris said. "And of course on all the talk shows around the country, there'll be all these guys that hit the redial button at a certain hour every day and they're all going to have the answer and they would have won the last 10 championships in a row if they could have just gotten off the redial button and actually gotten into the arena. But, in the end, there isn't any one way to get it done."
The difficulty in playing the Rockets is that they feast on teams that try to double-team Olajuwon inside. In Game 1, though, the Lakers offered a lot of single coverage, surrendered 33 points to Olajuwon and should have lived to tell because Houston was two of 11 on three-point shots and scored 87 points.
The obvious problem: The Lakers scored 83.
"They just wouldn't double down," said Charles Jones, the Rockets' veteran backup center. "Maybe they wanted to see how good their defenders were one on one."
Added Mario Elie: "They weren't doubling. They wanted Dream to score. And we love that."
Maybe not wanted Olajuwon to score, but conceding him the points and then concentrating on not letting the other Rockets hurt you is one approach. The Lakers made at least one part of that work--Clyde Drexler got 21 points, no one else more than 12.
"This team puts you in a lot of tough defensive situations," Harris said of the Rockets. "You have to be real smart, and obviously nobody's been smart enough for the last two years. So we have to be a little smarter than everybody else has been for the last two years on our defensive adjustments."
Rockets Close to Road Playoff Record
Thursday, the Rockets took away homecourt advantage. Today, they can take a spot in the record book.
Houston has won eight consecutive playoff road games to tie the Chicago Bulls for the NBA mark, a span that includes two victories at Phoenix, three at San Antonio and two at Orlando. The Rockets have not lost away from the Summit in the postseason since Game 2 of last year's Western Conference semifinals.
Dubious Shooting Mark Nearly Eclipsed
By shooting 34.9% in the opener, the Lakers missed almost everything except the team record for worst percentage in a playoff game. They made only 33.7% against Milwaukee on April 7, 1974. . . . Clarification: Forwards George Lynch and Fred Roberts defended the shooting guard Thursday, but did not play in the backcourt on offense.
Series at a Glance
* Game 1: Houston Rockets 87, Lakers 83
* Game 2: Today at Forum, 12:30
* Game 3: Tuesday at Houston, 6
* Game 4:* Thursaday at Houston, TBA
* Game 5:* May 4 at Forum, TBA
* If necessary