Lakers Lose Fourth Consecutive Game; Fall to Houston 125-112

Lakers Lose Fourth Consecutive Game; Fall to Houston 125-112


Kobe Bryant Jeremy LinNo one expected this to happen, but the Los Angeles Lakers faced a must-win game early in the month of January. The Lakers are struggling mightily and nothing is going right for the team that had championship aspirations before the season started. Los Angeles came into the match three games under .500 and winless in the new year.

The Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs have been decreasing slowly and they need to beat opponents ahead of them in the standings. The Rockets were one of those teams the Lakers are chasing; however, without Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, the Lakers faced a very tough test in Houston.

First Quarter

Despite the fact that Los Angeles was without two of its main stars, the atmosphere in the arena was electric and the fans were ready for a Western Conference showdown. The Lakers always create a buzz when playing in opposing arenas, and whenever Kobe Bryant is on the court, the games tend to be closely contested.

The Lakers surprisingly had a fast start to the game and the players were trying to beat the Rockets by running the floor. Despite the fairly old roster, the Lakers made it a priority to get in the open-court. Nevertheless, the Lakers began the game very well and they held an 11-4 lead with 8:45 remaining in the period.

Los Angeles continued with the fast start and the team was playing well on both ends of the court. The Lakers were forcing some great turnovers and were also knocking down perimeter jumpers. Robert Sacre provided the Lakers with much needed energy and he gave them many second chance opportunities. Metta World Peace had an early eight points for the Lakers and he helped put them up 18-6 with 6:12 left in the quarter.

As the quarter progressed, the Lakers continued to play well and the offense was running quite smoothly. The smaller lineup fit Mike D’Antoni’s system and that allowed Los Angeles to open up a nice lead in the first quarter. However, the Lakers’ defensive pressure and the intensity they played with at that end of the court was most impressive.

After 12 minutes of action, the Lakers were up 34-28 as the Rockets closed the period out on a 10-3 run. Eight different Lakers scored in the opening period and as a team, the players shot 44 percent from the field.

Second Quarter

The Rockets kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second quarter and their run at the end of the first period carried over. The Lakers began the second quarter with their reserves on the floor, and with neither one of the stars in the game, the second unit had to keep up the high level of play. With 8:34 left in the opening half, the Rockets cut the deficit down to two, 38-35.

Once Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant got back onto the court, the Lakers regained control and momentum shifted their way. The Lakers’ stars dominated the ball and they were making shots only the elite players could. Nash was taking advantage of the younger, less experienced Jeremy Lin on the offensive end, and that allowed him to give the Lakers a bigger cushion.

However, the Lakers began to start slacking on the defensive end and the Rockets’ dynamic back-court shifted into a different gear. James Harden took matters in his own hands and he did what he could to give the Rockets the lead. After a Carlos Delfino three, the Rockets took their first lead of the game, 47-46.

The Lakers responded well to the Rockets’ surge and Bryant and Nash were the two main forces behind the Lakers’ attack. The two stars were scoring with ease on the offensive end and they were also doing a great job finding teammates for open baskets.

Just before the first half ended, Lakers guard Steve Nash recorded his 10,000th career assists after he found Antawn Jamison cutting to the basket.

As for the Lakers, they headed back to the locker-room with a 62-59 lead thanks to 13 points from World Peace and 14 points and five assists from Nash.

Third Quarter

The Lakers had a nice start to the second half and the starters continued with their strong play. Metta World Peace was still hot from the field and the Lakers were trying to find him clean looks at the basket. Los Angeles was very aggressive in the opening minutes of the third quarter and the team opened up a 67-62 lead with 9:30 left in the period.

Los Angeles prevented the Rockets from going on another run as the quarter progressed and for the most part, the Lakers controlled the tempo of the game. Both offenses hit a snag mid-way into the period and shots were not falling like they were at the start of the third. At the 6:30 mark of the quarter, the Lakers were up 69-66.

The Rockets limited Kobe Bryant to only six points through two quarters, but Bryant became much more aggressive on the offensive end in the third period. Bryant was not having a great scoring night, but he wanted to find a groove against the younger Rockets defenders. However, even though Bryant did seem to find his shot, the Lakers had trouble creating a cushion against the Rockets. With 3:49 left to play in the quarter, the Lakers held a mere one point lead, 78-77.

The Lakers relied too much on isolation play towards the end of the third quarter and that allowed the Rockets to surge ahead. The ball began to stick in Bryant’s hands and there was no ball movement on the offensive end. The Lakers needed to execute on that end of the court or else the game would get out of hand quickly.

Through 36 minutes of play, the Lakers were facing a nine point deficit, 97-88, after the Rockets scored 38 points in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers’ offense was not very efficient to start the fourth quarter as most of their points came off desperation threes at the end of the shot clock. On the other end of the court, the Lakers had trouble preventing the Rockets from scoring, something that thwarted them from cutting into the deficit. Delfino continued to torch the Lakers from behind the arc and he helped Houston take a 105-94 lead with 9:23 left in the game.

Los Angeles was finally able to find open looks on offense, but once again the defensive intensity was not high enough to create a run. Houston was able to attack the basket with ease and the Lakers did very little to stop the Rockets from scoring. With 6:30 remaining in the game, the Lakers were facing a 107-98 hole.

The Rockets asserted their dominance as the quarter went on and they slowly took over the momentum. Houston just had too many athletic players and the Lakers had trouble containing their explosiveness. Los Angeles tried to crawl back into the game, but Houston created too large of a lead for the Lakers to overcome. At the 2:50 mark of the period, the Lakers were down 114-103.

Once the final buzzer rang, the Lakers walked off the court losers for the fourth consecutive game. The Rockets played a stellar second half and beat their Western Conference foes, 125-112. World Peace led the Lakers in scoring with 24 points, followed by Bryant with 20 and Nash with 16 points and ten assists.

Things will only get tougher for the Lakers as they will play the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday night and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

  • ramos

    Wow the playoffs are looking more more less likely

  • Raffaele D’Abrusco

    Sadly, playoffs are pretty gone, at this point. Lakers’ brass, coach and players won’t publicly concede it, but numbers don’t lie. Time to blow this roster and build for the next year, hoping to convince Dwight to stay. As a Laker fan, I would fear especially Rockets’ allure: they’re a young dynamic solid fun to watch team with lot of upside. Houston market won’t be as large as LA or NY (Brooklyn), but is Texas anyway.

    • Leo

      keep Kobe, Nash and Metta, fire/trade/letgo the rest… D’Antoni first :-) – by the way, convince Kobe to play some more D please… he is a great defender, but I dont see the will to do that right now…

  • ramos

    Btw now we see why Jamison gets no pt

  • ryan

    ARGH!!!! :(( THE MOST EMBARRASSING SEASON in LAL! :( so whats next? we wil not be in the playoffs, howard will not sign extension, next season will be the same. arghh!! there’s no improvement at all! LAL are worst than last year! ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!! .

    • Daryl Peek

      You must be too young to remember the 90’s

  • lakers_824

    Im really fed up ive never been this pissed off as a lakers fan im more pissed then the time we had smush. This will go down as the biggest dissapointment in basketball history as i think we will miss the playoffs all becuz of dantoni, im daamn sure if we had phil hed never let this happen im jus lost for words at this point and what ever happened to nate mcmillen being the defensive cordinator?

  • Lyle

    HAHA! Another loss. They’ll continue to lose. As long as Mike D’Antoni is head coach, this team will LOSE. Right now, I’m not a fan anymore. Once they hire Jerry Sloan, then I’ll come back to becoming a fanatic.

    • lakers_824

      ur the defition of a bandwagon fan if u was a true fan then u would stick with them through good and the bad

    • ramos

      Lyle y dont you go eat dirt worm

  • prince

    what, did you expect them to win without a frontcourt? stfu

  • honestly

    i heard that the grizzlies r shopping rudy gay and the suns r making a run for him. how about a 3 team trade. send gasol and clark/ebanks to either the suns or memphis, then we get rudy gay.. it will give us the option to go small by putting gay and metta in the front court with dwight. it will also give either jamison or my boy hill more playing time. the bright thing is, BOTH teams have tried to trade for pau. Would b great too if any of them ask for blake or duhon since their PG spots need veterans

    personally, idc who the lakers trade. we just need more athleticism while keeping hill in the team. we lack chemistry coz we dont have a glue guy

    • Leo

      we dont hace chamistry ’cause D’Antoni…

  • icko

    hopefully it’s not gonna be a 2004-2005 season when they missed playoffs

  • Sti1lmatic

    Oh well, we can’t expect TOO MUCH from an organization that has given us SO MUCH.
    At least we got to see Kobe be the best in the game for so many years. Let’s enjoy these last
    couple of seasons we have left with Kobe and move forward. We can’t always be at the top. We
    can’t expect to win big each season. 5 rings are better than 0 (zero) rings for Mr. Kobe “Jelly Bean” Bryant.

  • gianluca

    sacre played as well as gasol and howard. last time i checked he is the 60 pick. tell the two crybabies to man up.

  • Leo

    Try zone defense please. That would make sense with this roster. 125 points… again… I mean, 30+ guys (Kobe, Nash, Metta, Jameson etc) cannot outscore the opponent in 120+ point games! The guards do not play D (and/or are too slow), bigs are slow to rotate. Meeks is a joke on D. Really. Watch the replays. Embarrassing. Kobe is a great defender but I do not see the will to defend now. In parallel to this game I watched Indana beating the Heat, with rock hard defense (limiting Miami to 20 points quarters). Lakers should try to mix their defense with Zone defense – we just cannot stop the penetration (slow guards, poor rotation). Zone worked for the ‘old’ Mavs (earned a title) with Chandler being the anchor. With D12 in the middle we should try it.

  • gonzalo

    please fire MIKE D´ANTONI HE IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM, hire jerry sloan, not even the players believe in his system, you could see kobe yesterday he wasn´t even trying, he needs to go to MItch and tell him to fire this fucking stupid coach, you should win scoring 110 points outside your building every single night but not with D´ANTONI because they score 125 on you, it´s fucking ridiculous and the worst thing of all is that they aren´t going to fire him

  • noel tan

    coach mike d antoni is not the problem, the players are the problem they dont play hard and no team work, kobe want to score more points and he does!nt want to past the ball to his teammate, very selfish.