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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Rockets – 8/7/2020

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The Lakers sit atop the Western Conference, with a 51-17 record but to say that they looked sluggish since the NBA restarted play would be putting it kindly.

 

Los Angeles was without LeBron James (sore right groin) and JaVale McGee (coaches decision) against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. Even if the two starters played, it might not have made a difference in the outcome. Once again, poor shooting and a weak defensive showing did the Lakers in against the Rockets falling to them 113-97.

 

Lakers vs Rockets recap
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

James Harden had 39 points and 12 assists to lead the Houston Rockets, while Anthony Davis had 17 points with 12 rebounds, and Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 21 points in defeat.

“We did some things poorly at times; we did some things well at times,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “You learn from the tape and put it in the game plan for the next time you play these guys.”

Harden once again was the Rockets catalyst on Thursday. Playing without Russell Westbrook, Harden played well on both ends of the floor and drew the praise from his head coach, former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. “His commitment on defense is number one,” he said. “He stays locked in and is trying to win whatever it takes, accepting the double teams and trying to bust it through to other guys. So there’s a lot of good things to marvel about.”

 

Lakers vs Rockets recap
Photo Credit: Rockets Wire

Late in the 4th quarter, Harden made an athletic layup that re-started Houston‘s offense, which slowed after the Lakers scored the first 10 points to start the 4th quarter. Harden’s layup started an 11-0 run of their own that pushed the Rockets lead to 105-89 with five minutes remaining and essentially seal the game.

“We’re playing pretty good,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of things especially defensively that we can correct, but I think our energy … and pace has been good.”

 

 

As for the Lakers, they need to figure it out before the playoffs start because if they continue to play the way they currently are, it could result in an early playoff exit for the Purple and Gold.

 

The Lakers offense has been unable to put it all together since they returned from the NBA‘s COVID stoppage. Los Angeles has played more than half of its eight allotted seeding games and has been held below 100 points for the third time in five tries.

 

Lakers vs Rockets recap
Photo Credit: NBA

With James, McGee, and Alex Caruso (sore neck) all sitting this one out, it was going to be a lot of Anthony Davis scoring for the Lakers. While AD held up his end, and Kuzma had 21, the rest of the Lakers took way too many three-point shots and, once again, failed to knock them down.

Dwight Howard, who has not been the same since the NBA returned, had eight points and 15 rebounds after missing Wednesday’s game with a sore knee. He also was called for a few questionable calls as well.

Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker all had ten points, while Quinn Cook and Dion Waiters each had eight points.

Point guard Rajon Rondo (right thumb surgery) arrived in Florida on Wednesday, but it’s unclear as to when he’ll be able to begin practicing since he has to test negative for COVID-19 for seven straight days.

 

 

The Lakers play again tomorrow, Saturday, August 8th, against the Indiana Pacers. You can watch the game on TNT or Spectrum SportsNet at 3 pm Pacific.

 

 

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: Joe Arrigo

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