Lakers Blow Big Lead, Fall to Rockets in Houston

The Laker season saw more bumps on the road in the past couple of days. First off, Steve Blake will be out a minimum of 6-8 weeks due to surgery on his abdomen. Then Pau Gasol was mentioned to be out indefinitely because of balky knees. Antawn Jamison started in his place at the power forward slot.

Coach Mike D’Antoni made one more change. Chris Duhon replaced Darius Morris in the starting line-up.

So after all of those changes, how did the Lakers look against the Houston Rockets? Did they get back to .500?

1ST QUARTER

The Lakers got off to a 10-2 start. The Rockets looked sloppy from the start. The fans certainly enjoyed that.

Coming into the game, Kobe Bryant needed 52 to get 30,000 career points. It seemed like he knew that as he came out gunning from the start.

Another curious rotation change was Mike D’Antoni putting in Earl Clark ahead of Jordan Hill. Clark immediately made his presence felt by scoring on a dunk off a Jodie Meeks pass and a jumper. Hill did come in for Dwight Howard a few minutes later.

Meanwhile…

It certainly was. Kobe shot 11 times in the first.

The Rockets continued to look messy and only shot 32 percent from the field overall. The Lakers were paced by Kobe’s 14 points although the offense wasn’t as crisp as it should be. At the end of 1, L.A. led Houston, 30-22.

2ND QUARTER

The Lakers started a line-up of Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison, Metta World Peace, Jodie Meeks, and Darius Morris. Let’s just say it didn’t go very well.

The Rockets were able to cut the lead down to five, thanks to a lot of Toney Douglas. He had already scored 12 points halfway through the second (14 by halftime).

Dwight Howard came back in and the Lakers immediately went on a run. A 15-5 lightning run put the Rockets down further.

Kobe continued pouring it on while guys like James Harden and Jeremy Lin couldn’t get it going.

If there was one thing that the Laker fans could complain about, it’s the Lakers not being able to clean up the glass on the defensive end. The Rockets had a whopping 15 offensive boards.

But with the help of Kobe’s 21 points, the Lakers led the Rockets, 58-45, at the half.

3RD QUARTER

The Rockets started out better in the third quarter, going on an 8-2 run. Antawn Jamison stopped the bleeding, though, with a three-pointer. The Lakers brought it back to a double digit lead as everyone from the Lakers contributed.

A deep Metta World Peace three made it a 14-point game. The Rockets then went on a 9-0 run but once again, the Lakers were able to subdue that rally for a bit.

However, James Harden continued to struggle and Jeremy Lin couldn’t get anything going because of foul trouble.

Try as they might, the Rockets couldn’t inch any closer. They couldn’t take advantage of the Lakers turning the ball over.

The Lakers led the Rockets, 83-73, after 3.

4TH QUARTER

The Rockets didn’t threaten the Lakers for a while. The Laker fans, I’m sure, loved that. We all thought this game was done.

How dumb are we?

The Rockets went on an 11-2 run. They were able to cut the lead down to 92-88. While Kobe was able to stop the bleeding a little bit, the Rockets continued to push for a comeback.

With the lead down to four, the Rockets decided to go to the Hack-A-Dwight. Little-known Rocket big man Greg Smith (21 points, nine boards) then was able to cut the lead down to 98-97 as he played the game of his life. And then with the Hack-A-Dwight still going on, Toney Douglas made a 3 to give the Rockets their first lead at 100-99. Dwight went 5-10 from the line during Hack-A-Dwight.

The Lakers couldn’t make a shot to save their lives. The Rockets made key foul shots to keep themselves ahead. Greg Smith converted two to put Houston up, 106-102.

Kobe made a quick three to cut the lead down to 106-105. Toney Douglas (22 points) was fouled a few seconds after. He missed the second of two foul shots and the Lakers had one more shot to tie or win with eight seconds left to go.

But Kobe missed a three. The Lakers couldn’t convert on two more shots and they lost to the Rockets, 107-105.

Somehow, Harden, Lin, and Chandler Parsons played pretty awful… and the Lakers lost the game. How does this even happen?

STAT LEADERS
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 39
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 12
ASSISTS: Chris Duhon, 7
BLOCKS: Dwight Howard, 4
STEALS: Kobe Bryant, 2

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