After five consecutive defeats, their worst streak this season, the Lakers are moving forward by winning not without difficulty on the floor of the Rockets, who in turn experience a fifth loss in a row.
The eight-player rotations on both sides did not prevent the two teams from engaging in a rhythmic and offensive game. Despite the big start from LeBron James, comfortable with his long shot, the Rockets turned in the lead after the first quarter (35-34), before suffering more in the second (59-67).
With the rise of Christian Wood, the premises managed to regain a very short lead in the third quarter before letting go again. Author of an award-winning basket at the very end of this period (92-97), Russell Westbrook supported LeBron James to regain a ten-point lead.
But behind a big offensive streak from Jalen Green, Houston will return to possession with three minutes to go. A “challenge” favorable to the Lakers, on a defensive action from LeBron James, an award-winning basket from Carmelo Anthony and two “pick-and-roll” well negotiated by Russell Westbrook, to serve the “King” below, finally got the better of the Rockets.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– No pivot, no problem. Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan were yet on the bench and on the scoresheet, but David Fizdale preferred to do without. To defend on Christian Wood and Alperen Sengun, he trusted LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. This choice did not prevent Los Angeles from dominating the rebound (48-30) and registering as many points in the racket as their opponents (56).
– The defense of the Lakers still struggling. 138 points conceded against the Spurs, 122 against the Nets… The Lakers suffered again last night to contain the Texan ardor. Since the injury of Anthony Davis, the defensive efficiency of the Lakers has been in free fall: more than 115 points conceded on 100 possessions, the 6th worst defense in the country. The Rockets have the worst of this streak.
– Houston is no longer moving. The astonishing series of seven wins in a row, which started at the end of November, already seems a long way off. Since then, the Rockets have won just 2 of their last 11 outings. A poor dynamic which can also be explained by a majority of matches played away in recent weeks.
✅ LeBron James et Russell Westbrook. Third triple-double of the season for the first, seventh of its kind for the second. Both men dominated and were decisive in the last possessions with two pick-and-rolls poorly defended by the Rockets. If the “King” limited the waste as much as possible, his leader, who still missed a ready-made dunk in the fourth quarter, still lost seven balls and lacked skill on the free throw line ( 2/6).
✅ Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. Despite mistakes, especially in defense, this tandem embodies the ardor of the Rockets. In the “money time”, the first did not hesitate to drop two words in the direction of LeBron James after an award-winning basket. The Lakers player responded by scoring again after a big dunk on the previous possession … Jalen Green also shone with his long distance skill, especially in the fourth, and displayed his athleticism with several receptions of ” alley-oop ”.
✅ Lakers shooters. The Californians had not exceeded the bar of ten award-winning shots for three matches. Mission accomplished last night with inspired leaders behind the arc, well supported by very good Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony, who still accumulated 49 points between them.
⛔ Talen Horton-Tucker. Holder for ten matches, the back gave way to Malik Monk last night. A choice that paid off since the latter soared where the former did not bring much when leaving the bench, if not five faults committed in 21 minutes …
This is the third time in Lakers history that two teammates have finished with a triple-double in the same game. LeBron James had done the same with Lonzo Ball in 2018, as had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson in 1982. This rarity has occurred 13 times in league history.
Rockets (10-25) : reception of the Heat, Friday.
Lakers (17-18) : moving to Memphis, next night.