The Los Angeles Lakers remained in the state of Texas for the second night of a back-to-back against the Houston Rockets. After a loss to the Dallas Mavericks the night before, the Lakers are looking for just their second win in the last nine games.
Nick Young was a game-time decision after injuring his back but ultimately decided to play. It is the second game against Dwight Howard since he left the team this past off-season, with the Lakers taking the first game on a Steve Blake game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
To start the game, the Lakers came out with good energy and established a 17-11 lead midway through the quarter. Led by Pau Gasol and Nick Young, the Lakers established an inside-out game, but had difficulties defending the paint. Unfortunately, Los Angeles couldn’t close the quarter as they committed numerous turnovers. Gasol, Young, and Wesley Johnson had seven points as the Lakers led 28-24.
Young continued his strong play from the first quarter to help the Lakers push the lead to eight points halfway through the quarter. The Lakers worked hard on both sides of the floor and maintained their lead the entire quarter. Sloppy play towards the end of the quarter put the Rockets down by five after being down by as much as nine. Gasol and Young finished the half with 15 points apiece to lead all scorers.
To start the second half, the Lakers got off to a poor start as Gasol turned the ball over on the first possession. However, the Rockets couldn’t take advantage and only led by one midway through the quarter. While the Lakers continued to struggle, the Rockets made a run and took a 10-point lead, 77-67. After the timeout, Lakers couldn’t put together their own run and trailed 85-72.
In the first five minutes, the Lakers only scored three points and the Rockets were able to extend their lead to 20. Midway through the quarter, Jodie Meeks’ three cut the lead to 13. After a timeout by the Rockets, James Harden took over and Lakers couldn’t cover. While the Lakers tried Hack-A-Dwight, it didn’t work as they couldn’t convert on the other end.