Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The end of the season is near, and so too this team of damaged goods.

In another meeting with their former teammate, Dwight Howard (20 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks), and his new team, the surging 37-17 Rockets, the Lakers were no better than they were the last time the two teams met. With Steve Blake traded to the Golden State Warriors, Kendall Marshall was placed back in his starting position, with the return of Jodie Meeks and Jordan Farmar as well.

The Lakers won the fourth quarter by three points, and they hit 80% of their free throws compared to Houston’s 48% from the charity stripe. Aside from a few fine performances, those are really the only positives to be gained from this game, and even that is a stretch.

The Rockets led by as much as 36 points and won 134-108.

High Points
Wesley Johnson – 24 points on 9-13 from the field, seven rebounds and a pair of assists in just over 42 minutes of playing time. It was a productive night for Johnson. If only he could have produced on a more consistent basis.
Kendall Marshall – With Steve Blake shipped off to the Warriors and Jordan Farmar not ready to play heavy minutes in his return, Marshall did what Marshall has been doing for months for this hobbled team – just play. He finished with 20 points on 7-13 from the field, 16 assists and three steals.
Jodie Meeks – In his first game back since he exited the game in the first quarter of the meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Meeks turned up a solid game, chipping in 19 points on 7-14 from the field. He played just over 34 minutes, having to share the spotlight in the PG position with Farmar’s minutes being monitored.

Low Points
The sudden trade of a respected teammate and player who did loads for this team? The 56-32 rebound discrepancy? The 19 offensive rebounds given up, which helped with 26 second chance points for Houston?? The 36-point deficit? All the injured players who are still far from returning? The nearing of a forgettable season’s end? Pick a low point – any low point. All apply.

54 games into the season and the Lakers have yet to hit 20 wins. The sooner April comes around, the better.

Box Score