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The Lakers need to stop coasting

Marcus Henry | 4/12/2011, 4:41 p.m.

The Lakers blasted the Rockets by 40 on Tuesday night.

That's not a typo. The Lakers dominated the Rockets 118-78 and took a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series. I'm not impressed. Sorry Kobe Bryant fans, but I just can't get fired up about this Laker team.

This isn't a personal thing. Bryant and the Lakers took Sunday night off in their 99-87 loss to the Rockets. Sure, every team has a few bad nights in the playoffs. Even great teams can have a stinker or two. But I'm not buying that with this team, especially since the Rockets didn't have Yao Ming and haven't had Tracy McGrady at all in the playoffs. This team has fallen into the bad habit of turning it off and on.

This series should be over now. The Lakers splitting the first two games of the series is understandable. It happens. But they should've won Game 4 going away. Bryant, who some consider the best in the league, had 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Clearly he was not being aggressive. I know the Rockets were hitting everything, but Bryant needed to answer that in a big way.

Now is not the time for Bryant to take a night off, especially since his team goes as he does. When Bryant doesn't shoot well, he usually doesn't do anything else productive and the Lakers don't win. On the other hand, when LeBron James has a bad shooting night, say 5-for-19 or something, he'll contribute 11 or 12 assists and eight or nine rebounds.

When Bryant's offense goes south, so does he.