Skip to content

While world watches Dwight Howard Lakers bench earns win over Rockets

Nov 8, 2013, 2:49 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

The narrative was all about Dwight Howard taking on the Laker team he bolted last summer after a tumultuous season — and if Lakers fans were looking for some schadenfreude they got it.

Howard wasn’t impressive. He finished with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting but just 5-of-16 from the free throw line. He missed key free throws down the stretch (although he was 5-of-10 during the Hack-a-Howard part of the night, which is all Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni ever asked last season). To be fair, Howard completely outplayed Pau Gasol who was just 1-of-10 on the night thanks to Howard’s defense.

However that’s not what decided a generally choppy, sloppy game.

Instead the Lakers won thanks to their guards and their bench. No, not Steve Nash, he was pedestrian. Rather it was the little-regarded guards that mattered. Jodie Meeks came off the bench to score 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Jordan Farmar had 11.

Then there was Steve Blake who knocked down the game winner over Howard with 3.4 seconds left.

With that Los Angeles closed the game on an 8-1 run and won 99-98 to pull to .500 on the season (the Rockets are 4-2).

Like they have several times this season, the Lakers raced out to an early lead, this time it got up to 19 points. Los Angeles shot 54.2 percent overall and 6-of-9 in the first quarter on their way to 36 points. Their wings were hitting shots. Steve Blake 3-4 from three (4-of-6 for the game). Meanwhile the Rockets were 1-7 from three. The Rockets were cold in general shooting 33.3 percent in the first quarter with Harden hitting 2-of-7 from deep.

The Lakers were the more aggressive team, trying to trap on defense and pushing the tempo when they could.

However, like in other games the Lakers gave up that lead. The Lakers got sloppy with eight turnovers in the second half and that fueled Houston’s comeback. James Harden had 35 points but on 9-of-24 shooting.

Going for that schadenfreude the Lakers went to hack-a-Howard in the fourth, but he hit 5-of-10 free throws in that stretch. Last season Mike D’Antoni said if he could get that 50 percent from the line the hacking would stop. That said, he seemed to enjoy doing this from the other side.

The Lakers bench is becoming key for this team — the nights they show up the Lakers get unexpected wins. Like opening night over the Clippers. Or in this game, when the bench had 54 of the Lakers 99 points.

You can’t draw much from this game other than it’s another sign that the Rockets have a ways to go to get to the contender status they envision. As for the Lakers, it’s up and down. Who knows what we get next game from them.

But for a night they made their fan base happy.

Latest Posts
  1. Lakers work out seven NBA veteran free agents beyond Michael Beasley

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, Daniel Orton, Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee try out

  2. Robbie Hummel to release hip-hop album. Wait. What?

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    Robbie Hummel Robbie Hummel

    NBA news you definitely didn’t expect to read today

  3. Jerry Colangelo on James Harden leading Team USA: ‘He’s the one’

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Puerto Rico v United States Getty Images

    Rockets guard continues to draw praise after offseason of petty comments

  4. Dion Waiters: Kevin Love ‘thinks I’m underrated’ and ‘knows I pass the ball’

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    Dion Walters, Kevin Love Dion Walters, Kevin Love

    Waiters on the possibility of playing with Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving: ‘I’ve got to destroy my opponent’

  5. Michael Beasley gets second Lakers workout

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Former No. 2 remains unsigned after disappointing season with Heat

  6. Doc Rivers got PAID

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    New contract with Clippers makes Rivers the NBA’s highest-paid coach

  7. Russian guard Dmitry Kulagin, with Kings interest, considering jumping to NBA

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    Adidas Eurocamp - Day 3 Getty Images

    Kulagin, 22, went undrafted and is now an unrestricted free agent

  8. Cavaliers sold Kyrie Irving on contract extension with LeBron James-Kevin Love plan

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

    Go back to July 1 and consider the possibility of LeBron James and Kevin Love playing for Cleveland this season

  9. Kevin Love says Timberwolves owner should focus on his own team following trade to Cavaliers

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    Minnesota’s owner tried to point out some of Love’s flaws once the deal was done.

  10. Doc Rivers signs contract with Clippers through 2019

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

    Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer

    Clippers owner Steve Ballmer calls keeping Rivers ‘one of my top priorities’

  11. Donald Sterling doesn’t appeal, basically throws in towel on owning Clippers

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling will try to embarrass the league going forward, but he will not ever own the Clippers again.

  12. Iman Shumpert excited to play in triangle offense because he won’t just have to stand in the corner

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Shumpert and other Knicks will love an offense with player and ball movement… if ‘Melo shares the rock.

  13. Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Sam Hinkie

    Sixers value a pick in next year’s draft more than they do Bennett at this time.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3766)
  2. D. Rose (3205)
  3. T. Young (2530)
  4. K. Bryant (2459)
  5. L. James (2438)
  1. K. Irving (2306)
  2. A. Davis (1916)
  3. G. Hayward (1840)
  4. R. Allen (1771)
  5. E. Bledsoe (1715)