The Los Angeles Lakers came into Toyota Center and shocked the city as they defeated the Rockets on a game-wining three from Steve Blake. The loss pushes the Rockets to 4-2 and gives the Lakers an even 3-3 record.
The Rockets took a lead in the fourth quarter before the Lakers elected to go with the “Hack-A-Dwight” strategy. Howard would hit 5/10 free throws during that time to secure a small Rockets lead. With just over 30 seconds and a two point lead, Harden would go 1-1 with Wesley Johnson and come up short on a mid-range jumper. The Lakers would inbound the ball with 10 seconds remaining and almost force their own turnover but eventually calmed down and called timeout with just over three seconds remaining. On the ensuing play, Blake would lose Beverley and put up a three as Howard came out to try and alter the shot. The ball would swish through the net and give the Lakers a one point lead and the game.
The Rockets started their game with their usual slow start. There was no perimeter defense and the offense couldn’t even put up 20 points in the first quarter. A three point barrage by Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake, and Wesley Johnson hurt the Rockets as the Lakers jumped out to a 36-19 lead after the first quarter.
The Lakers would continue with their hot shooting in the second quarter and the Rockets failed to make open shots and free throws. The Lakers would finish the game with 16 3-pointers whereas the Rockets would only hit 7/27 from three and miss a total of 19 free throws. At one point in the game, the Rockets missed seven straight free throws and several straight open looks which slowed down the Rockets comeback.
Eventually the defense would pick up and bring the Rockets back in the game. James Harden and Jeremy Lin would lead the team back on offense and Omer Asik was a key figure on the defensive end. The comeback was made but the Rockets couldn’t hold the lead in their eventual loss.
It was James Harden who lead all scorers with 34 points on 9/24 shooting (3/9 from three) and 14/16 from the line, including 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks in the loosing effort. Howard would finish with 15 points and 14 boards but it’s his 5/16 shooting from the free throw line that will be most talked about. Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons each put up 16 points as well in the loss.
The Rockets stay home for a rematch against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM and you can catch all the action on CSN Houston.