Dec 5, 2012, 1:38 AM EST
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.
Dec 19, 2013, 1:26 PM EST
Omer Asik may not like it, but he’s staying a Rocket for now. Probably. After weeks of talks — not to mention media and fan speculation — Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey has looked at the trade market for Asik and decided it’s not good enough. The Rockets have pulled out of all Asik trade talks,…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:51 PM EST
He’s the reigning NBA MVP, won the last two NBA titles, earned the last two the Finals MVPs… And not surprisingly, LeBron James sells a lot of jerseys. The NBA released the top selling jerseys from the start of this season (October through December this year), which includes the holiday buying rush, and not surprisingly…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:36 AM EST
After this play, you just thought it was the Celtics’ night. Turns out not so much (the Pistons came back to win). Still, this was a fantastic execution by the Celtics. With o.2 seconds left on the clock the only way to score was a tip in, and Jared Sullinger rolls to the basket (without…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:20 AM EST
It looks like Michael Jordan will have enough children to form his own basketball team. Jordan’s wife Yvette Prieto is pregnant with twins, reports TMZ. TMZ Sports has learned he’s having IDENTICAL twin girls. Michael’s wife, Yvette Prieto, is pregnant, though we don’t know how far along. They were married in April. Jordan has three…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:52 AM EST
LeBron James didn’t do anything blatent here — he didn’t go for the ball or hit the shooters’ elbow — but make no mistake: He fouled Paul George on the game’s final shot. Despite some protestations of Pacers’ players there was no call and the Heat got a 97-94 win Wednesday night. George did a…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:13 AM EST
Andrea Bargnani made a play near the end of the first overtime session on Wednesday in Milwaukee that was as boneheaded as they come, and could’ve easily cost his desperate Knicks team a much-needed win. After a missed shot by Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler tipped out the offensive rebound, which landed in Bargnani’s hands. The…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:31 AM EST
The Jazz won an ugly one against a Magic team playing without Arron Afflalo on Wednesday, and Trey Burke thoroughly outplayed fellow rookie Victor Oladipo in the process. Burke finished with a career high 30 points, while Oladipo managed just three on 1-of-12 shooting in 36 minutes of action. But Orlando likes Oladipo for his…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:45 AM EST
The Heat can be a little nonchalant about the regular season at times, but the Indiana Pacers got their attention. There’s a budding rivalry here (although it lacks someone to really stir the pot) and after the Pacers hot start to the season then win over the Heat eight days before, Miami’s key players showed…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
The Signature Series takes a look at a play that’s largely unique to one team. Here’s Golden State’s Elevator screen play: The “Elevator” screen is one of the most aesthetically pleasing plays you’ll see in the league, particularly when it’s run by Golden State. That’s in large part because any possession that ends in a…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:23 AM EST
Our quick look around a busy night in the NBA, or what you missed while trying to buy some beer and pay for it with a live alligator… Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat. The last time Wade scored 30 points or more in a game it was Game 4 of the NBA Finals, so it’s been…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:40 AM EST
Kemba Walker just owned the Toronto Raptors. This was his game — 29 points on 18 shots, he could get into the paint or went 5-of-7 from three. Plus, he sank the game winner. The Bobcats had 1 second to get a shot off, the score tied 102-102 at the end of overtime. Walker comes…
Dec 18, 2013, 11:31 PM EST
The Knicks are prone to late-game lapses of judgment this season, and that trend continued on the road near the end of the first overtime session in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Leading by two points with under 20 seconds remaining after a miss by Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler tapped out the offensive rebound, and it landed…
Dec 18, 2013, 10:35 PM EST
In the second battle of the season between the two clear leaders of the Eastern Conference, the defending champs showed that they have more than enough talent to come away with a win if given even the smallest of windows to do so. The Pacers got out to a lead of as many as 15…
Dec 18, 2013, 9:52 PM EST
It’s been a running theme over the past few seasons in Miami, where the Heat veterans — namely LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — haven’t been at all shy about dressing down Mario Chalmers on the court following an in-game mistake. Two straight championships later, things apparently haven’t changed all that much. In the third…
Dec 18, 2013, 9:05 PM EST
Chase Budinger was expected to start and be a key part of the Minnesota attack — he can shoot the three and is very athletic so he can finish in transition. He’s a great fit with their Kevin Love/Ricky Rubio attack. However, for the second straight year Budinger has been sidelined by a knee injury…
Dec 18, 2013, 8:01 PM EST
Pau Gasol was off to a slow start this season, and after he and coach Mike D’Antoni traded jabs through the media about both his role and his performance, the Lakers had reportedly started to weigh their options by making Gasol available in trade long before the Feb. 20 deadline had begun to approach. Even…
Dec 18, 2013, 6:47 PM EST
The Lakers are playing without any healthy point guards at the moment, which is making things difficult on the team overall, but especially on Kobe Bryant. Bryant leads the league in turnovers with 5.7 per contest, and while he’s only played six games, it’s substantially more than Stephen Curry‘s 4.2 per game for the season.…
Dec 18, 2013, 5:55 PM EST
The basketball gods can be cruel. The Washington Wizards were celebrating a dramatic win over the New York Knicks the other night — we focused on the Knicks’ failings but credit to the Wizards for making the right plans and knocking down the big shots. For a team with playoff dreams it was a win…
Dec 18, 2013, 5:11 PM EST
Damian Lillard nailed a three pointer from roughly Shaker Heights to give the Trail Blazers a dramatic 119-116 win over Kyrie Irving‘s Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. That prompted Kay Adams to start off this edition of PBT Extra with the question Lillard or Irving? We also talk about the rise of LaMarcus Aldridge to…
Dec 18, 2013, 4:19 PM EST
We told you Jordan Hamilton would be sitting out for this when it went down. Denver’s Hamilton has been suspended one game by the league for throwing this punch, striking the Thunder’s Steven Adams, the league announced Wednesday. Hamilton will sit Friday when the Nuggets play the Suns. The incident took place at the start…
- Reports: Houston Rockets pull out of Asik trade talks, will keep him for now 0
- Report: Michael Jordan’s wife pregnant with twin girls 3
- LeBron did foul Paul George on final shot but there was no call (VIDEO) 23
- The Extra Pass: Golden State’s Elevator Screen plus Wednesday’s recaps 1
- Wednesday night NBA grades: Vintage Dwyane Wade sighting 2
- NFL legend Jim Brown takes shot at Kobe Bryant, Kobe fires back (105)
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- Pau Gasol expresses frustration with D’Antoni offense. Lakers have to think trade. (49)
- Deserving or not Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade among All-Star starters in early voting returns (48)
- Mike D’Antoni to Pau Gasol: “There’s no reason to not play hard” (48)