Lakers 99 Rockets 98
The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to look a lot different this season. Kobe Bryant, the face of the franchise was supposed to be on the floor instead of making trips back and forth to Germany for his knees and on the sideline nursing his achilles injury, and Dwight Howard was supposed to be the man inside. It turns out the Lakers didn’t need either one of them, as they beat Dwight and the Houston Rockets, 99-98 in Howard’s first game against his old team.
Jeff Blake’s game winning 3-pointer with just over a second remaining gave the Lakers the win, in a sloppily played game on both ends, by both teams. Blake, has made lots of dramatic shots in his time as a Laker, but none were more dramatic than this one. Ironically, on the in bounds play that set up Blake’s shot, the Rockets were confused on where they should be lined up. After the confusion, it just happened to be Howard that was the closest Rocket to Blake. Howard made an attempt to contest the shot, but Blake swished home the 3-pointer over the former Laker, to give L.A. their third victory of the season. The Lakers are now 3-3. The Rockets fell to 4-2.
The loss was pretty disturbing if you’re a Rockets fan, especially when you consider the Lakers committed 24 turnovers and shot only 39% from the field. Houston countered that by shooting 37% from the floor, and only 26% from 3-point range. However, the foul line is where they lost this game late. The Rockets were 33 – 52 from the foul line, including 5-16 from Howard, who the Lakers fouled repeatedly late in the game. It was ultimately Howard’s two misses that set up Blake’s game winner. Another telling stat: Dwight Howard having only 10 field goal attempts. The Rockets need Howard to be more aggressive, to help their offensive flow, but so far he’s yet to assert himself to do so. There’s lots of work to be done, if Houston wants to be a serious threat in the west.
Jodie Meeks led the Lakers with 18. Wesley Johnson added 16, and Blake and Steve Nash had 14 and 12, respectively. For the Rockets, James Harden had 35, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin had 16, and Howard added 15.
- Dwight Howard: I Wasn’t Happy With Lakers, I Don’t Talk to Kobe & Fans Should Move On (blacksportsonline.com)
- Antawn Jamison Confirms Kobe Bryant-Dwight Howard Relationship Was ‘Bad’ (bleacherreport.com)
- Kobe uncertain on return as Lakers begin camp (bigstory.ap.org)
- Dwight Howard: ‘Unfortunately, the Lakers Have the Most Fans in the World’ (bleacherreport.com)
- Dwight Howard is a happy Houston Rocket (latimes.com)