Well, the Lakers did it. They did something as embarrassing (or worse) than your dad gleefully doing Mambo No. 5 for karaoke. The Rockets dumped on the Lakers so badly you thought Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and Kenny Smith (yes, THAT Kenny Smith and, yes, he played in the NBA) were all on the court. The final tally? 128-94. Yikes to the Nth degree.
There isn’t much to analyze. Once again, those bad habits that we mentioned in the past: Lakers not sticking to them defensively, Lakers with their horrible shot selection, the lack of energy on both ends, and the Rockets killing them on second chance points. This was not last year’s version of the Rockets, which was a whole lot of recklessness. Ime Udoka’s version was more methodical and disciplined. And it helped immensely that they were making all the shots.
The Lakers continue to stay winless on the road. They did not have Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes in this game. Rui Hachimura did play and he played well, for the most part. But I’m sure you heard this everywhere: the Lakers, even with LeBron James, will only go as far as Davis can take them. And it’s evident that when Davis isn’t on the court, they look a bit (a lot in Wednesday night’s case) disjointed even with Bron there.
So aside from Hachimura playing well, D’Angelo Russell got it going in the third quarter but they needed to make stops and they couldn’t do that. It was also nice that the young guys (including the two-way players) were able to get some run.
Are the Rockets for real? They looked very real and spectacular on Wednesday night. It’s very early in the season but the Rockets have won four in a row. There’s certainly some scary potential there.
The Lakers were led by Hachimura with 24 points and 8 boards. D’Angelo Russell ended with 22 while the ageless LeBron scored 18. The Rockets were led by Jalen Green with 28 points while Alperen Şengün put in 19. While the Lakers took good care of the ball (8 turnovers), they got beat in second chance points (again), 24-3. With no Davis, the paint was there for the taking for Houston, 68-42.
Hopefully, Davis and Hayes are healthy enough for Friday against Phoenix. The Lakers will play their first In-Season Tournament game so there will be a bit more juice in this contest. Either way, with the Lakers (3-5) losing three straight, they need a win in the worst way.
And probably the worst thing in the Lakers fans’ eyes? Dillon Brooks (5 points) will never stop talking.