Lakers Fall Short Against Small-Ball Rockets After 2019-20 NBA Trade Deadline
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Houston Rockets, 121-111.

The Rockets got out to a quick start as their small-ball lineup was able to push the basketball up the floor and get open looks from distance. Despite that, Anthony Davis was able to take advantage of his size and length and got easy shots inside the paint, giving Los Angeles the lead.

With no shot blockers to worry about, the Lakers had no issues getting into the lane and finishing near the rim, but the Rockets were able to keep the game close due to a few easy buckets in the restricted area. As a result, Los Angeles went into the second quarter only up 29-28.

The Rockets were able to retake the lead as Russell Westbrook was aggressive driving into the paint, while the Lakers looked disjointed on the offensive end. Alex Caruso was able to give Los Angeles a lift as he scored seven points in just a few minutes, but Houston still maintained control of the game.

The Lakers were able to cut into the deficit as they moved the ball better and got back to scoring up close as the Rockets had no answer for Davis. Danny Green finally got going from the outside as he knocked down three consecutive triples and Los Angeles and Houston went into the locker room tied 63-63.

Much like the first half, the Lakers were able to get anything they wanted underneath the basket but the Rockets continued to shoot well from beyond the arc. Even with Davis facing no resistance on the offensive end, Los Angeles had trouble slowing down Houston.

Avery Bradley provided a scoring spark midway through the quarter as he drained a three and gave the Lakers the lead after hitting two free throws. However, Westbrook found his groove from the field and Los Angeles went into the fourth down 97-93.

The Lakers came out to start the final period sloppy as they committed careless turnovers that allowed the Rockets to get out in transition. Los Angeles also went cold from the field, but they were eventually able to get a few stops and go on an 11-0 run to recapture the lead.

Bradley once again provided a lift as he hit a long two and drew an offensive foul on James Harden, but an Eric Gordon three kept the momentum on Houston’s side. A pair of late-game threes from the Rockets gave them a nine-point lead and ultimately the win over the Lakers.