Basketball

EX-LA Lakers PG Passed Away At Age Of 52 Today-SAD NEWS_____NBA….

Are the Lakers good or bad? Depends on which night, but the bad version showed up again vs. the Rockets

 

 

The Lakers’ only consistency this season has been their inconsistency.

 

After an impressive double-overtime victory over the Warriors that marked their fifth win in seven games, the Lakers turned in one of their worst defensive performances and overall efforts of the season in a 135-119 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on Monday night.

 

The Lakers trailed by as many as 30 points in the third quarter, with Houston’s starters running LA’s off the floor to start both halves. Los Angeles used a 20-5 run midway through the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to as few as 10 points, but the energy expended to make the run could only carry the Lakers so far as the Rockets responded with six unanswered points to put the game away.

 

Once again back to .500 at 24-24, the Lakers have simply failed to display any level of consistency — in either direction, frankly. They’ve lost four games in a row twice and won three consecutive games three times. They’ve never had a streak extend longer than four games on either side of the ledger. Otherwise, they’ve hovered around .500, give or take a few games.

 

From night to night, they vacillate from their ceiling looking like a championship contender to their floor looking like a team could miss the Play-In tournament.

 

“You just got to be a better team,” LeBron James said. “We got to be better to win ballgames. And we weren’t tonight.”

 

There were two turning points in the game, both in the first half.

 

With 3:59 left in the first quarter, rookie wing Cam Whitmore, who was the No. 20 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, three spots after the Lakers selected Jalen Hood-Schifino, entered the game and single-handedly swung the momentum. He scored 12 straight points, largely in transition, over the final 2:19 to give the Rockets an 11-point lead going into the second quarter.

 

“The first half was lost in the last two-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter,” James said. “We didn’t get back in transition. And they just ran out on us. … Didn’t have a sense of care factor.”

 

It didn’t help matters that coach Darvin Ham referred to Whitmore, who could’ve been a Laker, as “another bright, young superstar that’s going to be in our league for a long time” pregame. He also noted that the team had a pre-draft workout with Whitmore. It was a painful reminder of what could have been for Los Angeles.

 

“The kid is going to be special, man,” Ham said before Whitmore scored his 20 points off the bench.

 

The second turning point came at the 10:17 mark of the second quarter.

 

The Lakers rediscovered the value of last season’s starting lineup in their Saturday win over the Warriors, with the group playing a season-high 19 minutes — nearly double its season total up to that point of 11 minutes — and outscoring Golden State by 14 points. Though Ham didn’t start the lineup against the Rockets, he went to it earlier than he ever has this season, inserting Jarred Vanderbilt for Taurean Prince at the 5:44 mark of the first quarter. The Lakers were plus-three in less than two minutes with the unit, continuing a trend of positive play every time they share the floor.

 

  • Early in the second quarter, though, Lakers nemesis Dillon Brooks pushed Vanderbilt in the back on an uncontested dunk in a dangerous play that had an immediate ripple effect. A few possessions later, Brooks arm-barred Vanderbilt under the basket, leading to Vanderbilt retaliating by pushing him back in the chest and earning a technical foul. Brooks continued trash-talking Vanderbilt and walked towards him before turning his back. As he turned, Vanderbilt flicked Brooks’ braid, receiving a second technical foul and an ejection.

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