The big story of tonight is Dwight Howard’s first game back in Staples Center since leaving the Lakers to join the Houston Rockets. He is sure to be booed every time he touches the ball.
The Lakers welcome back Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar to the lineup, but will only have eight players in uniform as the team traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors about an hour before tipoff.
The Lakers are looking to end a seven game home losing streak.
The Lakers fans let Dwight Howard have it and booed every single time he touched the ball. He seemed more aggressive because of it and had six quick points, but also picked up a technical foul. Jodie Meeks got the scoring started for the Lakers with an insane behind the backboard shot. Marshall and Kelly would also hit threes but the Rockets still lead by one midway through the quarter. Jordan Farmar and Jordan Hill checked into the game. Howard dominated Kaman on the boards early and Kaman can’t get anything going offensively. Howard missed an alley-oop leading to a Johnson transition dunk. The Rockets started to get going in transition, pushing the lead to eight. Offensive rebounds killed the Lakers as they were outrebounded 19-6 and turned the ball over seven times. Houston by 10 at the end of the quarter.
The Lakers started off quickly in the quarter, cutting the lead to six, but the Rockets quickly turned it around with a Montiejunas three-pointer and an Asik bucket. They quickly pushed the lead up to 14. The Lakers continued to fight as usual, with Kendall Marshall leading the way. Johnson continued his hot shooting in the second quarter but the Lakers continued to be dominated on the offensive glass. Kaman picked up a flagrant one foul on Harden. Harden would convert both free throws and hit a jumper to push the Rockets lead to 16. A couple of transition baskets and the lead sat at 21 to end the half.
Chris Kaman got the scoring started for the Lakers but Beverley immediately responded with a three-pointer and Howard had another offensive rebound and putback. Ryan Kelly with a fast break dunk but the Lakers still trail by 21. The fans started chanting ‘Howard Sucks,’ Howard would join in, then throw down an alley-oop on the other end as Kaman is simply overmatched. Harden, Howard, and Parsons continue to have their way with the Lakers and even when they miss shots they grab the offensive rebound. The Rockets pushed the lead to 30 as Harden hit a deep three. Houston leads by 29 at the end of the third.
The Lakers continued to battle in the quarter but things just can’t quite go their way. Turnovers and missed shots plagued the team and with the Rockets bringing in their subs, there was some ugly basketball being played. Meeks hit a three and Jeremy Lin matched it as the Rockets kept their lead at 30. More turnovers lead to more easy baskets as the outcome is not in doubt. The Lakers lose big at home to Houston.
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