The city of Houston has not been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers this season. For the second time, the Lakers were dominated on the road by the Houston Rockets as LeBron James and Anthony Davis were unable to lift the team up.
Most concerning was the Lakers’ defense as they allowed 42 points in the first quarter and 78 points in the first half to a Rockets team that isn’t exactly an offensive force. In the eyes of LeBron, things got away from the Lakers during the final couple minutes of the first quarter, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“The first half was lost in the last two and a half minutes of the first quarter. We didn’t get back in transition and they just ran out on us. That was the first half right there.”
The Lakers trailed 30-29 with a couple minutes left in the first quarter before Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore went on an absolute tear. Three transition dunks and a pair of 3-pointers later and suddenly the Lakers found themselves with a double-digit deficit heading to the second. As far as James is concerned, the Lakers showed no care during that crucial stretch:
“Just didn’t get back. We need to have a sense of care factor. We didn’t have no care factor in those last two and a half minutes.”
The Lakers simply lacked energy with the last of those Whitmore dunks coming as the Lakers watched a loose ball expecting the other to grab it. But even through the rest of the game, the Lakers simply weren’t able to get stops consistently.
The Rockets were able to get the looks they wanted basically at will and James stressed the need for the Lakers to improve their communication on that end of the floor:
“Guys got to communicate. We got to know what we’re doing out on the floor, first of all. So then when you make adjustments throughout the game, you got to know when adjustments are being made so everybody is on the same page. So everybody needs to be in tune with what we’re doing so there’s no mishaps. Sometimes there will be mishaps and you got to cover for one another. The game is not just Xs and Os, you got to be able to do things on the fly as well when things break down or the game presents different challenges.”
This team has a lot of issues that need to be fixed in order for them to really compete. Defense is supposed to be the calling card of the Lakers, but on nights like Monday it is clear that they are still nowhere near where they want to be regardless of how good James and Davis have been.
Lakers’ LeBron James loves chemistry of last year’s starting lineup
One thing that had seemed to improve over the past couple of weeks for the Lakers is settling on proper lineups and rotations. One that worked well in the team’s win over the Warriors was a familiar one as it was the team’s starting lineup from last season with Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
When asked why it worked so well LeBron noted the chemistry the group had built last season during the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals. James would add that they know where each other will be and just work well together overall.
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