From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The Lakers have entered a world in which Shane Battier morphs into Kobe Bryant right in front of Bryant’s fourth-quarter eyes and they can and do lose four consecutive games despite having Pau Gasol. So in this universe, do the Lakers no longer win NBA championships? The Lakers lost, 109-99, to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, suffering the additional crisis of Gasol’s strained left hamstring. In Phil Jackson’s coaching career, none of his 11 championship teams lost four consecutive games. “It’s way too early,” Jackson said about drawing any conclusions. “The season’s got a long way to go.”
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: It may not be crisis time for the Lakers. Or it just may be.?? It all depends on the perspective. ??But perhaps there is some level of concern on several fronts after the Lakers lost their fourth consecutive game, a 109-99 defeat to the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.?? One concern has to be the health of center Pau Gasol, who came down with a sore left hamstring that limited his effectiveness and forced him to get treatment on it in the locker room at the end of the third quarter.
From Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle: All the Rockets needed was for Shane Battier to out-Kobe Kobe. Kobe Bryant had drilled one of those turnaround fadeaway jumpers almost no one else should attempt, with Battier’s hand rushing toward Bryant’s face in time only to wave goodbye. Battier, however, had seen Bryant play this part far too often. This time, Battier changed the final act and stole the show. The 6-8 forward scored 11 straight points in the final three minutes, carrying the Rockets to a 109-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night at Toyota Center, giving them a three-game home winning streak.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: There were signs in the arena before the Los Angeles Lakers’ 109-99 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday that the Lakers hadn’t quite reached rock bottom enough yet to be able to start climbing back up to the top. Because it was a back-to-back, the team canceled its afternoon shootaround so the players could sleep in after arriving from Memphis in the wee hours Wednesday morning but then held a rushed meeting to go over the night’s game plan about an hour and 45 minutes before tipoff.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: And to think, this is supposed to be the easy part of the schedule. Indiana, Memphis, Houston… we assumed, not irrationally, that this stretch would be an assembly line of uncomplicated wins for the Lakers before playdates with the league’s heavy hitters in late December. If that fantasy wasn’t fully dispelled after last night’s loss in Memphis, it certainly is now. The gold and purple fell again tonight, this time by a score of 99 to 109 to the injury-ravaged Houston Rockets. It’s the fourth straight disheartening loss for the champs. I hope you’ll forgive me for being the 37th person to tell you that this is the Lakers’ first four-game losing streak in the Pau Gasol era.
From Xiane, The Dream Shake: Revenge is sweet. Sure, there may be a lot of losses between our respective records, but after blowing a big lead in the first game of the season in Los Angeles and losing by two to the Lakers, it’s nice to get one back. Perhaps this will end the hex that started our downward spiral. The rubber match will be in LA (of course) on February 1. I’m hoping by then it’s a very significant game to both teams, and that we break their flinty purple hearts.