Lakers/Rockets: L.A. Is Not Clutch City

Rey Moralde —  March 20, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 104, Rockets 107
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 114.3, Rockets 117.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 60.1%, Rockets 62.3%

So much for momentum after that terrible home loss against the Utah Jazz. Maybe they only turned it over 23 times in 3 quarters in this game! And maybe Kobe Bryant made four shots to improve upon his three made field goals from Sunday. Well…?

The Good
I suppose we’ll get the good news out of the way first. Ramon Sessions was so good that he stayed until the end of the game (more on that later). Ramon had 14 points and 4 assists as he pushed the tempo, burned people that guarded him, found his teammates, and ran some good pick-and-roll sets. When he came in halfway through the 3rd, the Lakers were down by 1. He didn’t come out of the game after that and he helped push the Laker lead to 95-83 in the 4th. That game should’ve been in the bag, right?

Pau Gasol was very productive with 21 points (although only 4 rebounds). Of course, I expected him to be a more prominent part of the offense in the waning minutes but…

And that 40-point 1st quarter was fantastic (their highest-scoring quarter this season). THAT should’ve put the game away but…

Jordan Hill also made his debut! I suppose that’s also a good thing. And then he got packed.

The Bad
The late-game sets for the Lakers have been as predictable as WWE; they go to Kobe Bryant at the end. It’d be nice if he can call his number as a decoy once in a while. Maybe they panicked because Andrew Bynum was not in the game. You know? ANDREW BYNUM GOT EJECTED in the THIRD QUARTER. Bynum should know better than to talk Mass Effect 3 or whatever the hell he was talking about to the referee (though I kinda don’t get why the ref would eject him as he was ALSO engaged in the conversation). The most recent Western Conference Player of the Week got ejected in a close, road game. Can’t do that.

Ramon Sessions was fantastic while he was in there so I don’t understand the need to go away from him at the end of the game as if he has chicken pox. Isn’t the reason why Sessions was acquired so that Kobe wouldn’t have to handle the ball as much? So much for that. After that aforementioned 95-83 Laker lead, Sessions might as well have watched American Idol because he was not involved in the last 6+ minutes, PERIOD.

Oh, yeah. Kobe Bryant playing hero ball. 10 for 27 at the end for 29 points. These weren’t just wide open misses. A lot of these were forced shots. Come on, Kobe. We know you’re great but geez. Stop it.

The Rockets outrebounded the Lakers, 40-31. I’d like it if the Lakers can put some effort into boxing out. Luis Scola tipped in a missed Rockets freethrow for crying out loud. Sure, Andrew Bynum was ejected and all… but Pau certainly didn’t help the cause by only having four more rebounds than me tonight.

Other things? Playing the high screen-and-roll wrong with Steve Blake getting caught at the sideline (which resulted in Courtney Lee… she sounds hot… steals and dunks seconds later). Bad perimeter defense, especially at the end (3-pointers by Chandler Parsons, Goran Dragic, and Lee). And, of course, that 3-point stab by Dragic that took a 104-101 lead with 28 seconds left. Yeah. I don’t know what else to say now. The offense was mostly stagnant other than the first quarter and when Sessions was making that second half push.

As for the Rockets production? Lee killed the Lakers all night (23 points). Dragic had an awesome floor game (16 points and 13 assists). Luis Scola was steady at 23 points, even though the Lakers were doing their best Derek Fisher tribute on him. Even in the 1st quarter, the Rockets were scoring at will. It was just overshadowed by the Lakers dropping a 40.

At least, 14 turnovers is better than 24?

The Ugly
Well, I just wanna say this: I don’t know what’s worse (or uglier). Either the fact that this is the 3rd road game in a row where they had a double-digit lead and lost… or that they couldn’t beat a Rockets team without Kevin Martin (their leading scorer) AND Kyle Lowry (the point guard the Lakers targeted for a while).

The Play Of The Game
That fastbreak in the second quarter where Kobe Bryant did a bounce pass to a cutting Metta World Peace. I can’t believe MWP dunked it.

I’m annoyed. You saw the ugly section. The last four losses the Lakers had were very winnable games (DET, WAS, UTA, HOU). The Lakers get a dynamic PG in Ramon Sessions, only for him to just coolrelax in the last few minutes. I kinda wish they wouldn’t pack the paint as much when the Rockets were playing the perimeter more. And I wish Mike Brown would go to players other than Kobe during crunch time. It’s just all very frustrating. And, tomorrow night, they got the Dallas Mavericks. So we only have tonight and tomorrow morning to complain.

Strangely enough, the Mavericks haven’t beaten the Lakers this season in two games. So maybe this is a good sign? No?

So just chill… ’til the next episode.

(Also… the last seven games I was scheduled to recap, the Lakers have won. They lost today. So, yes, you are free to blame me as well.)


Rey Moralde

Posts