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Another game, another fourth quarter collapse, another Lakers loss, this time to Rockets

Dec 5, 2012, 1:38 AM EDT

Greg Smith AP

It boils down to this — the Lakers are not good enough right now for their stars to make mistakes and still win, while the Rockets were just good enough to exploit those mistakes.

For two games in a row the Lakers have taken leads deep into the fourth quarter. Then blown them as the other team hacked-a-Dwight and the Lakers fell apart. Los Angeles has given up 74 fourth quarter points in those two losses.

This time it was Houston making the plays late – and hitting their free throws and key threes — to get a 107-105 win. Houston improves to 9-8 on the season, the Lakers fall to 8-10 and 1-5 on the road. By the way, six of their next seven are on the road.

And after the last two games, you can bet every one of those teams is ready and willing to start fouling Dwight Howard late in the game.

It’s not hack-a-Dwight alone that costs the Lakers games, rather it is when teams start fouling Howard the entire Lakers rhythm on both ends of the floor becomes disrupted. They revert to choices on offense — Kobe Bryant took the last six shots alone, on his way to a 39-point performance — and even their defense falls apart.

This time that included Kobe missing key defensive assignments late as Tony Douglas was wide open for a corner three plus got to the line for key free throws.

The Lakers can’t have mistakes from their stars because the talent after Kobe and Howard the talent level takes a steep drop off a cliff with Steve Nash and Pau Gasol out. The Lakers bench got outscored 57-20 by the Rockets bench.

Still the Lakers should have won this. Los Angeles led from the start of this game and seemed in control — while they weren’t getting as many stops as Lakers fans might like the Lakers had a comfortable lead most of the way. Following a Jordan Hill dunk the Lakers were up 11 with just more than seven minutes left.

But the Rockets made a little run then went to hack-a-Dwight down four — 97-93 — with 3:18 on the clock. You can argue it didn’t work all that well because Howard hit 5-of-10 free throws before the clock reached two minutes (when hack-a-Dwight would mean free throw and the ball out of bounds for the Lakers). When hack-a-Dwight ended, the Lakers were still up two points.

But their rhythm was off, and it showed the rest of the way.

Greg Smith of Houston was the best player on the floor in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting plus getting three rebounds. He finished with 21. Douglas had 22 for Houston. The Rockets got this win with James Harden (15 points), Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin combining to shoot 10-for-43. But Harden had a key offensive rebound and guys just found a way to contribute and make plays.

The Lakers don’t have that. Right now they don’t have enough down the stretch to win games unless their stars are perfect. And Howard is not perfect at all from the line.

  1. abchome - Dec 5, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Anyone knows who’s running this http://didthelakersloselastnight.com/ please tell him to update after every Lakers game, or just pull the result from espn/nba.com with ajax.

  2. magicbucs - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Kobe shot 14/31 FGs and 2/9 from 3s. I don’t think taking 31 shots is going to do it

    Kurt how could you say the lakers should of won this game. You can say that about most teams that lose on any night. The fact is the lamers I mean lakers didn’t win because the Houston TEAM played better. Their starters struggled but had big games from a few bench players. Not just a ball hog shooting

    • bozosforall - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:03 AM

      Magic bung like I when a TEAM goes to work…especially when his stretched out rectum gets team tagged on a nightly basis.

    • davidly - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:57 AM

      I tend to agree and believe that one player taking more shots than his team has assists is not a reliable formula for quality team play. But in fairness to Bryant–who, yes, is known to jack ‘em up a lot–he has had to take on too much of the ball-handling at this point to keep him from doing otherwise.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      so who do you want to shoot, Duhon, Meta,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
      you keep talking about shots, who do you want to give the ball???
      you watch too much ESPN,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
      just so you know Kobe has a few rings, and about 30,000 points, but he shouldn’t shoot.
      magic,bucs, what do they know about winning ???

      buh bye

  3. dko83 - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    I know this surprises a lot of people, but the Lakers just aren’t good..

  4. hannah621 - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Go thing they they fired brown screwed big Phil and hired stankantoni

  5. mrcuret - Dec 5, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    They say teams are what their record says they are… Well, the Lakers are scrubs. Lol

  6. bozosforall - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Missing two of their starters will do that to any team. Only idiot NBA fans (read: Laker haters, specifically Boston morons) fail to realize this most obvious fact.

    • lakerfan4life - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:45 AM

      I’m a Laker fan, and you’re an idiot if you think that’s the problem. The problem last night was that ‘No D’ Antoni is too stupid to realize that he needs to take Dwight out for a couple of minutes when teams start to use that “Hack-A-Shaq” stuff on him, because it not only sucks the life out of him, it’s sucking the life out of the team. And he is also too dumb to teach his team that they have to play defense in the 4th quarter and not let teams average 37 points a game!

      Good thing Pau was out, otherwise ‘No D’Antoni would have tried to blame this loss on him again.

      The problem is the Lakers have a horrible coach, chosen by stupid Jimmy Buss.

      • apz02 - Dec 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        for real dude? then they will start hack-a-dwight (its not hack-a-shack anymore) just so he will take him out !

      • lakerchuy - Dec 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        D’Antoni is an idiot. any fool that says the Lakers lost this game on second chance points or poor defense is covering up he fact that from the fourth to the second minute, the Lakers game was completely disrupted by hacking. as much as it takes away from the spirit of the game, Houston played the cards that gave them the best odds. Houston played a game of chess at the end, made their move, and for the second game in a row Mike D’Antoni did not adjust. At this point, teach your lessons in practice, not during the game… GET THE W!!!!

      • badintent - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        Hey Mike ! yeah it’s the phone ! Some guy that says his name is Buss. I ‘don’t know !. Though he was the pizza guy at first.Claims he wants to talk to you about coaching again. Is this April 1 st.??

      • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:05 AM

        Believe what you want…the Lakers with a healthy Steve Nash will be a much more balanced offensive team. The defense is still better than the Celtics, that’s for sure.

    • dko83 - Dec 5, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      ..fail to realize this most obvious fact? lol. Switch back over to lakerluver, you’re too mad under this name, and extra stupid.

      • badintent - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        4 names and counting ………………………………………stopped taking his meds long ago.Send him to Cairo, play ball in Tahir Square..

      • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:10 AM

        Lakerluver is someone else, moron. Try using your brain for once instead of following that idiot Pudhummer.

      • dko83 - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:21 AM

        You sound mad..

      • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:23 AM

        Not one bit. I do enjoy watching others boil over though.

  7. larrybrown43 - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    No worries. They have 4.5 ungodly, long months of the regular season to figure it out.

  8. fanofevilempire - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    WE POOPED OUR PANTS TONIGHT………………………………..

    It’s alright Laker fans, unlike many posters here I know there is no trophies given out in December…………..

    Who is Chris Duhon ?

    remember the Mamba is the deadliest snake, you will feel the sting in June…………….

  9. ndrocks2 - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    paging Phil Jackson…

  10. davidly - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    I am probably in the minority here, but I think they made a mistake firing Brown when they did. The logic of hiring him in the first place is an entirely different issue, but letting him go so soon in the season only exacerbates the issues this team needed to deal with.

    While it’s true that D’Antoni’s preferred offense would seem to favor their two most recent acquisitions (Nash & Howard), it is clear that it doesn’t make good use of their most versatile offensive weapon (Gasol), so they are stuck in trade talk limbo, pretending they’ll know how things will pan out once all the players are healthy.

    How can this be the plan if their goal is to win now?

    All things considered equal coming into this season, they should have given Brown at least as long to try to get his team offensive-plan clicking as they are rumored to be giving Gasol in the current system, which is said to be sometime after Nash returns.

    Think about it: They replaced their head coach with a Nash guy once Nash went down. None of this smells like success.

    All that said: For the purposes of this season going forward, they should rotate Gasol in from the bench, as well as use him to close out games. I think they are more likely to succeed this year doing that than they are trading him for someone else. If they trade him, then they are looking further to the future, which seems strange considering the age of the team.

  11. fanofevilempire - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    after you guys clean up the poop in your big boy pants, check out who the Heat lost to…………..

  12. skids003 - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Don’t you think the great Kobe needs to kick his own a** now? Missed defense assignments( he has no clue what defense is) and jacked up the last 6 shots. Even the Laker lovers should see who the problem is. Last night he couldn’t blame Gasol either.

  13. 6stn - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    A major-market team having a lousy year. It happens. Sometimes often; just ask Knicks, Jets, Nets and Mets fans.

    • badintent - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      Ask the Knicks and Nets ? when was the last time you actually look at the NBA standing ?They are co-owners of first place East. I guess those long winter nights in Cleveland are so depressing you ran out of Prozac…………. again.Say hi to Dan Gilbert, the Modells and who ever owns the Columbus white jackets.

      • 6stn - Dec 5, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        You didn’t read the comment. Sometimes OFTEN. Didn’t mention this year. MAJOR market. Cleveland? Never been there. Have no rooting preference. Never heard of the Columbus White Jackets. Have a nice evening, Ms. Intent.

  14. unxpexted1 - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Hard to have optimism as a Laker fan when you see the product being set forth on the court right now. Kobe shooting 31 shots is not going to win games like it used to, and he doesnt have too. If i remember correctly dwight only had 9 attempts from the floor? This offense is losing Pau and also losing dwight. Is production has gone down significantly since D’antoni. The one thing I will say is that the Lakers look tired in the 4th quarter, including Kobe. This team is not used to running like this. This is a different level of conditioning that is needed and the last couple games they just look gassed in the fourth.

  15. themagicfanguy - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Lol at Bozo making excuses for the scrub lakers!

    • jolink653 - Dec 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Also notice how he somehow managed to include an insult to Boston fans even though they really have nothing to do with this topic

      • lakerfan4life - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Yeah, but that’s the only thing he was right about! It ALWAYS acceptable to insult the Celtics and/or their fans! ;-)

      • jedifriedchicken - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        Well, the Celtic do suck…

      • jolink653 - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:50 AM

        Well yeah I hate the Celtics too lol but they have nothing to do with a Lakers article…And I only mentioned the Boston thing because bozos trolls every Patriots article on profootballtalk.com…Could be about Tom Brady donating his kidney to a needy child and bozos would still call him a dirty scumbag

  16. 1historian - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Notre Dame is undefeated, the Patriots are rounding into championship form, the Lakers are screwing up.

    Life is good

  17. paulhargis53 - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    With 2 of the “supposedly top 10 players” in the game, still on the court, the Lakers should have still won this game.

    Bozo/lakerluver is full of excuses. Now its injuries.

    8-10. This just keeps getting better and better.

    • jedifriedchicken - Dec 5, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      The Lakers are a mess. That is true. They’ll most likely get better though, as the team gets healthier, and more familiar with one another. Miami went through the same thing two years ago. People saying that they were a failure, and that Wade and James could play together because they were too much a like, and that their coach wasn’t good enough. They ended up figuring it out. I’m sure the Lakers eventually will as well.

      • badintent - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        we have been hearing this same song for over 2 Months, since pre-season !! Enough excuses. They will only get better when Nash comes back.You know Sessions has to be laughing now , he got paid and doesn’t have to listen to Kobe in the locker room after the game.

  18. mat9844 - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    As a Clippers fan, I don’t have a dog in this fight; however, if you want answers, you need to ask the real Coach/Player of the Lakers, Kobe Bryant.

  19. ebrownwareagle - Dec 5, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Soooo Miami Lost to Washington… Does that make them scrubs too? Just a question..

    • eerock41 - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      Miami’s 12-4 record is much better than the Laker’s 8-10 record. Laker’s need to figure this out, and fast. The west has to many good teams in it to have such a slow start.

  20. omniusprime - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I saw that clueless Dumbtoni saying after yet another loss that people who think he should pull Howard in the 4th when teams hack him every play don’t know what we’re talking about. No, Dumbtoni is the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he’s just a 3-5 loser coach with a great team to coach. Dumbtoni is the stupid one who doesn’t know how to coach, looks like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights who freezes when it comes down to crunch time.

    Dumbtoni should remember the saying “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. Shame on you Dumbtoni for screwing up your second chance to outsmart the Smite-a-Dwight sissy cheat.

    Kurt Helin you’re way wrong about the sissy cheat hack defense messing up the Laker’s rhythm and that’s why they lost. It also disrupts the other teams rhythm. The Lakers have no rhythm, oh clueless one, because Dumbtoni has no clue how to give the team a winning rhythm.

    The little idiot buss boy has to bear responsibility for all these Laker losses, he was the total idiot who made the decision to destroy the championship legacy of Phil Jackson by brining in two of the most arrogant and ignorant coaches to ever disgrace the NBA.

    Fire the little idiot buss boy!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil Jackson!!!

  21. paulhargis53 - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    No, ebrown, it doesn’t.

    Miami isn’t a team that has a 1-8 record in its last 2 season ending playoff series.

    Miami isn’t a team whose fanbase had them placed in the finals in preseason either.
    Your arrogant fanbase deserves this.
    All offseason we had to listen to “how great” this team was going to be.
    Now that they aren’t, you get to listen to the I told you so’s.

    Get over it.

  22. magicbucs - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    If you sit Dwight when they start the hack a Howard you lose your only defensive player. It’s a lose lose situation. The only cure for that is for D12 to start making FTs.
    It’s great to see Dwight starting to call out his teammates for not helping on defense. They rotate way too slow and all suck with 1 on 1 D. . When Dwight was in Orlando his issue was the 1 on 1 perimeter defense. The rotation was solid. Not in leaker land tho. I mean laker land…

    The leakers have a lot more issues to worry about than just hack a Coward.

  23. scottheis82 - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    agreed paulhargis, there is no way this team should be losing games like this, with that being said you do see games like this scattered throughout the season look at Miami losing to the wizards last night and Boston losing to the Cavs earlier this season… this is just happening far to often with the Lakers so far this season.

  24. ebrownwareagle - Dec 5, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    @paulhargis53

    Miami’s Fan Base has had them in the FiNALS during Pre-season every since The Announcement.
    Paul you and lakerluver are one in the Same at different ends of the spectrum. When they WIN his praise for them go up and your no where to be found. When they LOSE you pop up Like BiLL o Riley only to bash them in attempts to Discredit the Entire organization and Kobe and The Luver is out of site on mute. Ijs

  25. paulhargis53 - Dec 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Sorry Brown, I don’t disappear when the lakers lose. If you want my schedule, I can give it to you though.

    For the most part, this is a timewaster at work for me. I will post at night sometimes. The weekends are pretty sporadic depending on what’s going on.

    If you need exact times, I can get them to you.

    Miami has the right to brag, they are the champs and they have been to the finals since they got together.

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