Lakers/Rockets: Club 17 In Effect Again

Rey Moralde —  April 6, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 107, Rockets 112
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 108.1, Rockets 113.1
True Shooting %: Lakers 58.2%, Rockets 60.3%

Lakers had a four-game winning streak coming into this while the Rockets are fighting for their playoff lives. Also of note? The Rockets won their last meeting against the Lakers. L.A. hoped for a different result but it was more of the same, if anything.

The Good:
This was Metta World Peace’s best offensive game this season. He had 23 points and seemed like one of the few Lakers that had energy the entire game. He was killing the Rockets in the post, had about three nifty left-handed lay-ups, and was even a playmaker at times. Too bad, the effort was wasted.

Matt Barnes didn’t have a great shooting game (1/9 with 3 points) but he did all the other things (13 boards and 4 assists). Keep hustling, Barnes.

I liked that Kobe Bryant didn’t try to have too much of a duel with Chandler Parsons, although I’m sure Parsons irritated him. He scored 28 points and made all 11 of his foul shots. Didn’t do much else but he got his points.

And I did like that the Lakers attacked inside tonight. They had a 36-22 advantage in freethrows and, overall, they scored 56 points in the paint. It probably would’ve been more if a certain center didn’t get ejected earlier tonight. Again.

The Bad:
Another double-digit lead lost. Ho hum.

Maybe it shows in their heavy schedule but most of the Lakers didn’t have the energy tonight, particularly in the first and the third quarters. And it’s only going to get worse because they have another game tomorrow night. But I digress.

Maybe it was also the injuries. Kobe had a bad shin. Ramon Sessions had a bad left shoulder (he clearly had trouble going left tonight). But the defense was non-existent once again… and the Rockets baited them into playing fast at times. It’s fun to see the Lakers convert on some fastbreaks but transition D is not a strength the Lakers have. The Rockets definitely took advantage of that.

Luis Scola went wild with 25 points against the Lakers tonight. He was money no matter who took on him earlier (whether it’s Gasol or Ron… and I’d like to apologize for calling Gasol a non-factor against the Clippers the other night; I was wrong). Goran Dragic went wherever he pleased on the court; he ended up with 26 points and 11 assists.

So what about Andrew Bynum?

I find Bynum’s personality amusing. This is not one of those times. Not getting the calls he wanted and getting shoved by Samuel Dalembert? Yes. Irritating. I don’t blame him for being angry. But at the same time, he’s gotta keep his composure. His second technical where he got called for taunting wasn’t even directed at Dalembert; it was directed at the bench. In a close game where Bynum was needed, he does this once again (against the Rockets once again, yes). He didn’t have the greatest of games, either; he had turned the ball over 5 times. But he was certainly on his way in terms of making a difference. He had 19 points at that point in the game. Keep your composure. Listen to Ace Of Base or whatever you listen to on Club 17 during timeouts. Calm down.

That may have very well cost them the game. But they still had a chance to win. Of course, if they bothered to guard jumpshooters all game long, they wouldn’t have been in this position. Give the Rockets credit for outhustling the Lakers (even if they were outboarded, 48-35).

Yes, the defense once again. 112 points by the Rockets. The Rockets probably likened this game to a 7-11. They were open all day. And probably got extra smoothies on top of it, too.

And Chandler Parsons (13 points, including a big 3 near the end of the game, and a superb job guarding Kobe)? For a rookie, he’s got grapefruits. Props to him.

The Ugly:
Lakers had 13 bench points. Expected. But I didn’t know what else to put under here.

The Play Of The Game:
I don’t have much to choose from, especially after a Laker loss. But you can take your pick between one of the two Josh McRoberts alley-oop dunks. Those did get the crowd going, at least.

Remember the days when the Staples Center was a security blanket for the Lakers? Me, neither. They’ve lost 4 games at home since the trading deadline after only losing 2 before that.

It doesn’t stop for the Lakers. They have Phoenix tomorrow night on the road, where they got plastered earlier in the season. At the end of the road trip, they play the Spurs for the first time this year (a three-game series with the Spurs in 10 days, really). That’s going to be a real test for the Lakers.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They may not even win against Phoenix AND New Orleans. Maybe Andrew Bynum may actually not get ejected in those games. That’s a step towards maturity.

Rey Moralde

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