Every time the Los Angeles Lakers (28-18) went up big, the Houston Rockets (25-22) fought back, and eventually went on to win the game last night, 107-104.
In a game that saw the Lakers put up 40 points in the first quarter and Andrew Bynum get ejected in the third, the Lakers once again managed to let another game slip away against a mediocre team on the road.
The Lakers jumped out to a 40-25 lead in the first quarter, led by the “Big Three”; with Bynum having 12 points, Kobe Bryant with nine, and Pau Gasol scoring eight.
However, the Rockets would come back and were down just 56-51 at halftime behind Chase Budinger’s seven points in the second period.
At the end of the third, the Lakers managed a six point lead of 79-73, but lost their All-Star big man–Andrew Bynum–in the process. Bynum appeared to be talking to a referee during a free throw break when the official briskly walked over to the scorer’s table and signaled a technical foul on Bynum, his second of the game. With Bynum ejected, the Lakers had to play the entire fourth quarter without their center.
The Lakers came out of the third quarter hot, and went on an offensive run led by newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions. The Lakers held a comfortable lead with 10 minutes left, 85-73. They still led by 12 with under six minutes to play, but the last four minutes of play saw a 15-2 run by the Rockets, who were able to surge their way to a 107-104 victory. For a team that prides themselves on their defensive abilities, the Lakers collapsed in a big way on the road once again.
Bryant finished the game with 29 points (on 10-27 shooting), four assists, and three rebounds while Pau Gasol had 21 points (on an efficient 10-14 from the field), four rebounds, and two assists. Andrew Bynum tallied 16 points and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes of play (due to the ejection, of course). Recently acquired point guard, Ramon Sessions, played quite well off the bench with 14 points (on 6-9 shooting) and four assists in 29 minutes of play. Matt Barnes had eight points and five rebounds while Metta World Peace had seven points and four assists. Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts combined for seven points and six rebounds, as Steve Blake scored just two points and dished out three assists (with three turnovers, however).
For the Rockets, they had multiple all-around contributors. Luis Scola (three rebounds, one assists) and Courtney Lee (five rebounds, four assists) led the way with 23 points apiece. Goran Dragic filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals. Chandler Parsons tallied 13 points and seven rebounds as center Samuel Dalembert had eight points and four rebounds. Off the bench, Patrick Patterson scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds while Chase Budinger put up eight points, four rebounds, and two assists. Marcus Camby had four points and four rebounds, and Courtney Fortson scored just two points.
Now, let’s break down the loss.
Next Page: The Breakdown