The Houston Rockets won’t be receiving top billing today as a more positive story — Kobe Bryant‘s last stop on his farewell tour — will hold greater precedence this afternoon.
Despite all of the crap the Rockets have gone through this season, we can take the time to focus on one the careers of one of the most storied pro athletes of all-time.
I truly admired Bryant and what he has done for the game of basketball in his career spanning nearly two decades — it’s appropriate that the Los Angeles Lakers as well as the NBA are giving him the send-off that he deserves.
We may see some flashes of brilliance from the Kobe of old this afternoon but we all know he is just a shell of his former self, broken down by several debilitating injuries.
But the Lakers’ training staff has done an incredible job of ensuring he gets to the finish line as he has just four games to go before he removes his No. 24 jersey after a game one last time.
Somehow through the thick of all of these gushy, tear-jerking story lines, the Rockets still have a chance to make the playoffs if they win out but if they lose today, that will mean they’ll likely be eliminated.
Will they play with a sense of urgency?
We’ll have to see but as I’ve said on many occasions this season, I won’t hold my breath.
So who’s leading the charge for the Lakers?
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Kobe Bryant is the leading scorer (16.7 PPG) and D’Angelo Russell is the assist man (3.3 APG). Jordan Clarkson is the steals king (1.10 SPG). Julius Randle is the top board-getter (10.3 RPG) and Roy Hibbert is the top shot-blocker (1.40 BPG).
Let’s talk about what the Lakers do well.
They don’t do much all that well but here’s some tidbits:
They usually make good decisions with the basketball. The Lakers are 8th in the league in turnover ratio, with 12.4 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.
They’re decent at the free throw line. The Lakers are ranked 12th in the NBA in free throw percentage, shooting 77.8 percent from the charity stripe.
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Sam Dekker‘s back issues have crept back up again and is scheduled to meet with his doctor soon. This is unfortunate news for this year’s first-round pick but he wasn’t in the rotation so it won’t affect the team all that much. But his presence would’ve been helpful as I’d like to see what he has, it may be quite a bit. Meanwhile, Montrezl Harrell continues to exceed expectations, outplaying his 2nd-round status as I expected.
There are no injuries to report for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sources: Mark Berman of FOX26 (KRIV)
Three Things to Watch:
110-102 in a Rockets’ win!
The Rockets are at home to take on the Lakers at Toyota Center.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CDT.
The game will be televised on ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME), Sirius/XM/SiriusXM 81 (Internet 890) and La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.