HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets entered Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers tied with the Detroit Pistons for the fewest wins in the NBA this season with 16. They proceeded to rally as many as 18 points in the first half en route to a win 114-110.
“We’ve talked about it and I’ve said it before games, after games, non-game days: energy, effort and urgency,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “And I thought going out the doors that was nonexistent.”
The Lakers were without Lebron James (right foot), antonio davis (right foot) and mo bamba (left ankle), leaving Ham with limited options in the middle. He chose to start the 6-8 rui hachimura instead of Davis.
Hachimura jumped to the center and did not win the opening shot against the Houstonians Alperen Sengun. Things didn’t get much better from there.
The Rockets made eight of their first 11 field goal attempts and got to the rim with ease. At the end of the night, Houston outscored LA 78-46 in the paint.
“It’s a product of us not being good on the ball,” Ham said. “That individual pride that it takes to keep the ball in front and the guys behind knowing that the paint is the priority. This team lives in the paint. The Houston Rockets live in the paint … And we preach that to them before the game.”
The Lakers made an effort to cut it to four with 10:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets went on a 9-0 run in the next minute, 27 seconds to reopen it.
“We have to play the match as if it were the last,” said the striker. jarred vanderbilt, who had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss. “We’re running out of time. I mean, I know we have 12 games left. We don’t have any more gifts. We never had any to begin with. We need all these games.”
It was the Lakers’ second loss in their last three games after they went 6-2 in their first eight of the All-Star break.
At 34-36, they remain in the 10th and final play-in spot in the Western Conference, but missed an opportunity to improve their fortunes with two of the teams ranked 5-9: Minnesota and Golden State. – Also losing on Wednesday.
One night after playing in sync on the offensive end in New Orleans, leading the Pelicans by as many as 40 points, the Lakers were abysmal on offense in Houston, shooting 37.8% as a team and 25% from 3.
Ham said the offensive performance was caused by LA’s mediocre defense.
“When you’re having trouble defensively and you’re playing against a set defense, the offense is going to struggle,” Ham said. “You’re not going to be able to get into a good rhythm.”
guard point D’Angelo Russell he also noted how personnel changes played a role.
“I mean, I’m not going to go against the coach. Obviously he sees that too. I agree,” Russell said. “But when LeBron plays, we’re a different offensive team. When he plays AD, we’re a different offensive team. I compare him to Kobe (Bryant)…
“He was about to go out and he didn’t practice much and we had a practice group there in practice and he ran the plays and did all of that stuff. But when Kobe played, everything we practiced went down the drain.” . We had to adapt. So, it’s similar to that.”
The Lakers host the No. 8 Dallas Mavericks on Friday, and Davis is expected to return to the lineup for another game that could be the difference between LA making the postseason or not when all is said and done.
“I mean, it’s the NBA,” Ham said. “If you’re not cut out for this, you’re in the wrong business. I love it, personally. Would you rather have a solid, secure spot in the postseason? Yeah. Who wouldn’t? But our circumstances are what they are.”