Lakers enter tonight's game against the hosting Houston Rockets with absolutely no momentum and they'll enter tomorrow night's game in New Orleans the same. Again, another opponent just lingering around in the fourth until just the right moment to catch a game winning run.
Lakers led at the half 58-45 and I believe by 17 at one point but let's fast forward to the 4th quarter collapse shall we?
I speak for myself (and probably for most Laker fans) when I say that my only memory of Lakers games is what happens in the end and what's been happening to the Lakers in the 4th quarter has to be a terrible joke engineered by some kind of higher being. Perhaps Karma. The fact remains, L.A. is losing games they've won. Their inability to go for the jugular in the final minutes of a game has become costly for this so-called "New Dynasty". The price they've paid for an 8-10 start (44%) is worse than expected fiscal cliff tax hikes.
Lakers led by 10 to begin the final 12 minutes and they had a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go. Then the opponent like they typically do catch a magical run to take the lead late in the game. The Rockets did just that by sparking their 9-2 run to take a 100-99 lead with just over 2 minutes left. From there you just knew that the Lakers were doomed. I mean at that point the Lakers almost have to pull out their pimp cups with all that booty they gave up. Kobe, Metta and Antawn all had opportunities to tie the game in the closing seconds, but when kismet is inadvertently decided by 19 Laker turnovers, heartbreak will be force-fed cold.
Lakers played pretty solid D throughout the game as Howard/Hill combined for 7 blocks, but the defense fell apart when Houston's second unit came in. Both Greg Smith and Toney Douglas formed an alliance and decided to have season highs coming off the bench - Smith, 21-points (outscored entire Lakers bench) and Douglas, 22. Even Delfino joined in on all the fun by having an unreserved shooting performance, having 15 shot attempts for 15-points.
Second shot opportunities killed the Lakers tonight, especially late. Houston had 21 offensive boards vs L.A.'s 14.
|Original photo credit: AP|
Tonight, Kobe went 14-31! That's a season high 31 attempts and certainly a stat you don't want to see in a losing box score. Kobe ended the night with 39-points.
The highlight of the night I think was in Hill's performance. Even though his minutes were limited, he still had 9-points, 9-rebounds and 3-blocks. Almost his first double double of the season in just 14 minutes.
Laker fans will all agree that Hill deserves more minutes. His energy and defensive presence is critically needed and early to set a nice tempo.