This game couldn’t be over quick enough. The Lakers got smashed in their game against Houston. The final score? 134-95. I haven’t seen them get messed up like this since… well, okay, Friday. But this was just a massacre.
The downfall could be traced all the way back to the first quarter (which really has been their downfall throughout the season; it’s like the Lakers play every game like they’re climbing K2). While the Lakers were keeping up with the Rockets’ extraordinary run-and-gun offense that basically outlaws midrange shots, L.A turned the ball over so much that it was like they were being all Santa Clauses 18 days early. 9 turnovers in the first quarter won’t get it done. The Rockets scored 43 in the first 12 minutes while the Lakers scored 27.
Houston cooled off in the second and Brandon Ingram (12 points), Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Lou Williams all made some shots to cut the deficit to seven points. But that was as close as they got. Lou made an incredible shot from afar before the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to 12 but that was really just a small bandage that stopped the bleeding temporarily.
Lou can’t miss! #LakeShow (?: @SpectrumSN & @spectdeportes) pic.twitter.com/uPiAlvSda8
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 8, 2016
L.A. couldn’t stop the Rockets from getting into the paint (68-52 edge by Houston). They were already bad at closing on shooters and we know Houston specialized on three-pointers. Rockets went on a 22-6 run in the third that ballooned the lead to 28. That basically put away all the hope the Lakers had on winning this game. The Rockets kicked the Lakers while they were down and they put a boulder on them to make sure they didn’t recover.
The Lakers shot well early but they got really careless after halftime (they only shot .391 at the end while the Rockets finished at .543). They ended up having 28 turnovers, which ties an NBA season high (the Rockets had 20 but their talent was so overwhelming compared to the Lakers). Houston also outboarded the Lakers by 13. Eric Gordon (26 points) made 8 of the Rockets’ 15 three-pointers. Patrick Beverley had a double-double (10 points, 12 assists). And James Harden did his usual damage (25 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists). Seven Rockets scored in double figures. The Lakers were led in scoring by Lou Williams once again (24 points) and Randle had a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds). But the Lakers defense was so bad and they were so careless that you might as well have five poodles play on the court.
Luke Walton started Marcelo Huertas and Jordan Clarkson in a more conventional line-up (instead of Brandon Ingram and Metta World Peace, which they did against Utah in a giant line-up). But besides a fleeting moment in the second quarter, Clarkson never got going (3 for 13, 7 points). And Huertas was just overmatched despite a pretty good statline (10 points, 7 assists, 5 steals).
The Lakers are now 10-14. They’ve lost four straight and the injuries have really taken a toll on them. They were without D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Jose Calderon, and Tarik Black. It was good that Larry Nance, Jr. was back but that obviously wasn’t even close to being enough against Houston. All they can do now is throw another game in the garbage and focus against Phoenix on Friday at Staples.
Let’s just hope they don’t throw too many games into the garbage bin if they wanna keep the playoff dream alive.
As a team we looked lethargic and played with no emotion or sense of purpose. The only good thing about that debacle is the fact that is over. Move on, regroup and mend up Laker fans, we will be okay.
This isn’t a playoff team unless fully stocked and healthy. With that it’s a fringe playoff team. Expectations have become exaggerated. I’m happy with my competitive, young team. Critical, key injuries have robbed this team. They will be okay once healthy.
Injuries,injuries,injuries and a brutal relentless schedule are taking a toll on our team. For me this isn’t unexpected. What the Lakers need is to be healthy when the schedule softens up. Most of us knew this month was going to be a struggle but the injuries have complicared an already perilous schedule…
Hey Rey: did you say clippers get demolished by the warriors and lose seventh straight game to them?
When healthy, coach Walton will have the team playing .500 ball again. Hard to imagine anything less.
After running the gauntlet the next 5 games look like this:
Dec 9 vs Pheonix
Dec 11 vs New York
Dec 12 @ Sacremento
Dec 14 @ Brooklyn
Dec 16 @ Philadelphia
With the toll of injuries though, these aren’t going to be free wins.
The players who remain healthy, are getting worn out.
Let’s hope that when the injured return, those who are over extending themselves won’t replace them on the injured list.
It is curious to me that Mozgov and Deng’s minutes have not
spiked with the recent spate of team injuries.Normally, when a team is down key players you look to the veterans
to see you through.
-Mozgov’s last 10 games: 20.6 min, 8.9 pts and 4.5
-Mozgov’s last 5 games: 19.4 min, 7.6 pts and 4
-Deng’s last 10 games: 24.2 min, 6.6 pts and 4 rebs
-Deng’s last 5 games: 26.8 min, 7.4 pts and 4
So if we are potentially running the risk of injuring other
players due to their work load we have to ask the question, why aren’t Mozgov
and Deng carrying more of the burden in terms of minutes and production? Isn’t that what they were signed on to
Deng is done! Trade him to Tibbs in Minny so he can be his MWP.
Mosgov is serviceable and hustles but if you think he can carry your team then you don’t have a good team. They were running offense for him in the 3rd and he was clanking them left and right… Houston’s lead ballooned at that point. Didn’t understand that strategy but I’m not the coach. I probably would have played high pick and roll with Clarkson and Randle then told BI to put the ball on the floor then elevate and get to them rim.
When you play Houston you have to go at Harden and make him play defense. Didn’t see us doing that.
Whose expectations? Jimbo’s? Keep telling everyone we are headed for a bad place.
Every NBA… well most every NBA team knows that you either … have a bonafide contender or you play to the draft. Fringe teams tend to languish for years because they are not good enough to break thru and too good to add young talent in the draft. I would have stuck with the “youth movement” myself and waited to rule the NBA after LeBron.
We have pretty much ceded that to Boston and Philly (they suck now but Simmons, Embiid and another top pick coming). Boston has a younger and better team than we do with picks in 2017 and 2019…wow!
Youngest Teams in the league per Basketball Insider:Philadelphia – 24.18 years oldPortland – 24.95 years oldToronto – 25.04 years oldPhoenix – 25.16 years oldDenver – 25.38 years old
We are not a young team we just have 4 young players that is it. I don’t count Black and Robinson because neither one of them should be in the NBA and in the D-League really.
Darius Soriano says
LordMo Busboys4me 6 of the Lakers’ 10 key rotation players are 25 or younger (Black is 25, Clarkson and Nance are 24). Ingram, Randle, and Russell are all 22 or younger. None of have been in the league longer than 3 seasons. If you want to discredit Black, the number is still 5 of 9 players. Which, you know, is more than half. Of the players who are older, Young, Williams, and Deng are 5th, 6th, and 7th in minutes per game. Mozgov is 9th. Russell, Randle, Clarkson, and Ingram are 1st – 4th in minutes per game. So not only is more than half the team’s primary rotation 25 or younger, the guys who play the most per game come from that group as well.
Probably better to point out specific things about the players you see as deficient in order to prompt a discussion than just saying things which aren’t true. The Lakers are a young team.
I said we are a young team. Why did you lump me with Lordmo?
Per Darius’ comps, we are still what most would consider, a young team.
A Horse With No Name says
Darius Soriano Thank you for the heavy lifting (sigh).
Darius Soriano LordMo Busboys4me
The Lakers are 15th in the league in terms of average roster age Darius. Average age is 26.4 and Memphis is next at 26.5 and we know they are not a young team and neither is the Lakers…sorry!
A Horse With No Name says
Busboys4me I’m sure Darius’ remarks weren’t intended for you. ( He didn’t delete you from the auto reply that includes everyone above.)
Darius Soriano says
LordMo Again, read what I wrote above. Essentially you’re saying they’re an old team because guys who weren’t in the rotation when the team was playing well are on the team. Metta is 37, Calderon is 35, and Huertas is 33. So, yeah. If this is the hill you want to die on, it pretty much speaks to your agenda.
Darius Soriano says
Busboys4me I wasn’t speaking to you.
No agenda just facts the average age of an NBA player is 26 per RealGM. While I agree we have young players in our core now this is an average team in terms of age.
The problem is that there is too much disparity in terms of age in our roster. From 25 to 28 are the prime years in terms of production. The fact that the Lakers have very few players in that range is the “telling stat”.
The young guys see major minutes over the vets because the vets are not that good. If they were the kids would be riding the pine.
LordMo Darius Soriano I’m not sure exactly what it is that you want, why, or how you would like to see the team go about achieving whatever you think should be happening. This team could get younger on average by picking up unsigned free agents fresh out of college, but doing so wouldn’t help with talent for the future or development right now so what goal would that satisfy? This team could keep its pick by firing Walton and bringing back Byron, but is that something you are going to advocate for?
A coherent strategy is all I’m looking for. If your truly going to compete for the playoffs then make a trade for a cornerstone.
If not stop truly go young and stop signing the likes of Deng, MWP, Huertas, etc. When the Celtics cut RJ Hunter we could have added a young shooter with upside and gave MWP a clipboard.
The Lakers do appear to have a coherent strategy and it was working for a time. How many Laker fans could have reasonably expected 10 wins after 20 games, given last year’s dumpster fire? Young’s apparent rebirth (hopefully his injury won’t interrupt that), Lou’s early sixth-man candidacy, and the organic improvement of the youngsters were all contributing to unexpected success in the face of one of the toughest early schedules in the league.
I understand being discouraged by recent play, but the recent travails of the team aren’t an indictment of the team’s strategy, it’s simply evidence that that when you rely on depth as part of that strategy, injuries are going to hurt you.
new rr says
I think the issue some people are having is this: ultimately, whether the Lakers are on the right track to get back into contention depends on Walton and on how good the three lottery picks are. Picking up Clarkson and Nance with late draft picks is nice. Picking up Black off the free-talent pile is nice. But Williams, Young, Deng and Mozgov are a good idea mostly if you think that having them around and using them the Walton has been using them will help Russell, Ingram and Randle hit their ceilings.
If you believe that–and I think Walton does–then the Lakers were doing great before the injuries hit. But if you would rather be taking some more Ls to have the young guys getting more shots and reps and you would rather have the cap space than Deng and/or Mozgov, then questioning the coherence of the Lakers’ current roster-building strategy is more than reasonable.
_ Robert _ says
KevTheBold: I share your concern about wearing out the players who remain. We have seen players overused in recent years with poor results.
Vasheed: That schedule looks good. We need to win at least 3 of those 5. More would be nice.
mattal/Lord Mo: Yea – Deng is well – a mistake. And I am sure that they do not want to overuse Mosgov cause he has gotten nicked a couple times in the past (see comment to Kev).
rr: “if…rather have the cap space than Deng and/or Mozgov, then questioning the coherence of the Lakers’ current roster-building strategy is more than reasonable” Indeed !!!!
mindcrime: I saw Geoff Tate in concert. Got a photo with him and chatted a bit. Fun times.
Team: Let’s get a “W” tonight. And things will look better in the short term. As far as the long term – see debate below : )
Thank you, I was feeling persecuted. lol
Agreed. But any team, with any strategy would be effected by this many injuries to core players. The Dallas Cowboys could not lose DAK, Dez, Zeek, and Sean Lee and still as effective. As great as Bellichick is, he wouldn’t survive the loss of Brady, Gronk, Edelman and Patrick Chung for too long. Those two teams are tenured squads with a veteran laden base, we are a team that has a young core with veteran player coaches (MWP, Calderon, and Hurtsus). The key losses effect us greater. To ride with most everyone else, I hope the plethora of injuries doesn’t adversely effect the other players (it already has with Calderon). Luke is wise not to put too many minutes on Deng (he sucks anyway) and Mosgov. Given his age and mileage (Deng) and the other’s injury history, it wouldn’t be prudent.
Lol… My man rest easy