The Los Angeles Lakers will look to break their two-game losing streak as they come home to the Staples Center to host the Houston Rockets. While it has been an experimental season for the Lakers thus far, the Rockets meanwhile, have fallen extremely short of expectations.
However, they have been playing better as of late, winning five of their last six games. The Lakers will need to get off to a strong start like they have been in recent games if they want to break this losing streak.
The Rockets scratched on their first possession of the game on a three-pointer from Trevor Ariza before Roy Hibbert responded with a hook shot to make it 3-2. Houston then hit three of their next four shots to take a quick 9-4 lead. The Lakers put on a little run of their own capped by a three-pointer by Lou Williams to bring the score to 12-11. Clarkson got it going early with consecutive buckets, both on assists from Kobe Bryant to shorten the Rocket lead to three. The Lakers then capitalized on a couple of defensive stops to take a 19-18 lead midway through the quarter thanks to Julius Randle layup. Both sides continued to trade baskets in this high scoring first quarter as Kobe found Hibbert for yet another assist to take back a 27-26 lead. Kobe was spreading the love all over the floor as he found Randle for a dunk on the next possession for his seventh assist in just ten minutes of play. Not only was he finding buckets for everyone on the floor, he even found some for himself with a three-pointer to take a 34-28 lead. In an eventful start to the game, the purple and gold found themselves on top 36-32 at the end of the first.
Houston struck first with an alley-oop to Dwight Howard, before the Lakers answered back with a three-pointer from Anthony Brown to extend their lead, 39-34. The persistent Rockets continued to stay in the game thanks to the speedy Ty Lawson, who tied things up at 39 with an easy bucket. They then took a 45-41 lead thanks to a couple of scores by Montrezl Harrell. After a crafty drive to the basket by Sweet Lou on Howard, the Lakers didn’t score for two minutes while Houston took a 49-43 lead. Williams then put an end to the drought with another sweet drive to the bucket and the slam-dunk finish to cut the lead to four. Though the Rockets went four minutes without a drought, they still managed to stay ahead with free-throws. Meanwhile, the Lakers were clicking on offense thanks to the efforts of Randle, Carkson, and Williams to bring the score to 53-51. Harden finally got the Rockets offense going with a three-pointer over Randle to extend the lead 58-53, before the Lakers answered back with consecutive buckets from Clarkson and Randle to cut the lead back to one. Both teams shot over fifty-percent in the first half, however, it is the Rockets who were on top, 60-57.
Houston came firing out of the gate by scoring on their first three possessions capped by a three from Harden to take a quick 67-57 lead. Lakers finally scratched in the second half with consecutive buckets from Clarkson and Williams to shorten the Rockets’ lead, 69-61. Harden would not let up as he continued to rain three’s down on the Lakers to give him 30 points and the 77-61 lead. Things would not get much better, as the Lakers would find themselves in yet another third quarter scoring drought, while Houston continued to score at will. They went nearly four minutes without a basket before Clarkson finally ended it with back-to-back buckets to bring the score to 86-66. The Lakers seemingly began to show some signs of life with a thunderous dunk by Hibbert, followed by a three from D’Angelo Russell to cut the lead to fifteen. But Houston kept their foot on the gas as they continued to pick apart the Lakers defense en route to a 94-75 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth started much of the same as Houston struck first with a jumper from Marcus Thornton, answered back by a layup from Sweet Lou, the score now 96-77. Anthony Brown looked to get it going on offense with a nice finish at the rim, followed by a sideline jumper to bring the score to 98-83. The Rockets answered back with consecutive baskets of their own to extend the lead back to 19. Unlike the normal game tempo, both teams began to struggle from the field. D’Angelo Russell finally put an end to yet another near four-minute drought, with a three pointer to give him 12 points on the game. The Rockets really put the game out of reach with a Lawson layup, followed by a Harrell dunk to extend the lead 112-89. The Lakers second-half woes came back to haunt them in the end, as they come short at home versus the Rockets, 112- 95