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Game Report: Rockets defeat Lakers 107 – 105

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Game Report: Rockets defeat Lakers 107 – 105

This game had a clear warning sign throughout.

It was masked by Houston’s terrible first-half shooting, which allowed the Lakers to build a 17-point lead. But it was there to be seen if you were looking for it. 

It first became apparent on the Lakers’ opening possession, when Kobe came down court and nailed a very long two-point shot to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead.

The long two-point shot is the worst shot in basketball. It was clear that Kobe decided from the beginning that he was going to be a scorer tonight, which led to him scoring a game-high 39 points, leaving him just 13 shy of 30,000 for his career.

What’s wrong with Kobe scoring?

  • The Lakers fell to 1-7 when Kobe scores at least 30 points
  • It took Kobe 31 shots to get his 39 points (Jamison has the second most shots, with 11)
  • Kobe had only two assists on the night
  • The Lakers assisted on only 16 of their 38 baskets
  • When any player takes 31 shots, no one on the team feels they are a part of a team, including that player

That is not Mike D’Antoni basketball, which is all about ball movement, about the ball “finding energy.” And yet, there was Mike D’Antoni, on the sidelines, seemingly occupying the position of head coach.

So, I am left to wonder:

Has D’Antoni already lost Kobe, the way he lost Carmelo?

Now, if Kobe is serious about letting Nash have the ball when he returns, then all will be well. Nash will get Kobe 18 shots per game, and they will be so good-looking that Kobe will hit 12 of them.

But if Kobe expects Nash to carry the ball up court and then hand it to him in double coverage (which Nash will do if Kobe insists, because Nash is Canadian), then this team will be toast. It will be so toast that you will actually smell the toast. If that happens, take comfort in knowing that it’s just the Lakers, and that you’re not having a stroke.

In fairness to Kobe, there were other reasons the Lakers lost, including committing 18 turnovers and giving up 21 offensive rebounds. But I’m putting this loss mainly on Kobe. His teammates this year are talented enough that he should be getting them involved.

Dwight Howard, who recorded his tenth double-double of the season, is not blameless either. But while he shot only 9-18 from the free throw line (including 5-10 during tonight’s Ding-A-Dwight stretch), shooting 2-4 from the line is still the equivalent of going 1-2 from the field.

Yes, Dwight needs to make more free throws, but hey – by shooting 9-18 from the line tonight, he actually increased his free throw percentage for the year….

Also, it’s important to note that Pau Gasol sat out the game due to tendinitis in both knees. Word is that he will also miss the next two games at a minimum.

This is a great decision – let Gasol recover, and let him be 100% when Nash returns, so that we can see how a healthy Pau and a healthy Nash play together. Any talk of moving him at this point is completely premature.

Mind you, that’s how I felt about Mike Brown when the Lakers were 1-4.

Finally, Nash missed his 16th consecutive game tonight. And, he will also miss at least the next two games as well.

I really think this team would benefit from him beginning to impose his personality upon it, but of course that is very difficult to do from the injured list.

Lakers Player of the Game

I’m giving it to Dwight, who scored 16 points (4-9 from the field), grabbed 12 boards, and blocked three shots. In addition to that, he was a +9 on the night (to Kobe’s -4).

Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed

“D’Antoni on keeping Howard in re: FTs: ‘You have a player that’s going to be your franchise player and you don’t do that to him.’” – Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter), post-game tweet

“And by the way, the best guy in the world at creating that trust/chemistry on the court – Nash – is in street clothes.” – Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter), post-game tweet

Next Game

Wednesday, December 5 at the New Orleans Hornets, 5:00 p.m. PST

 

About Craig Lawson

Craig Lawson is a Canadian who works during the day and enjoys writing about basketball at night (from the comfort of his wifi-equipped igloo). You can read all his posts at www.steve-nash-chronicles.com, and follow him on twitter @stevenashchroni.