Well, it was a good game until after halftime. The Lakers had rallied in the second quarter to get over a 13-point deficit, Steve Nash had surpassed Mark Jackson on the All-Time Assist list, and the greatest indicator of Laker wins, the three-pointer, was falling at an efficient clip. The Rockets lead was a mere five points going into the break…
…and then came the third quarter, where Houston outscored the home team by 20 points. Despite a 40-point fourth quarter by the Lakers, a 28-point lead was too much to overcome and they lost 145-130.
Steve Nash – Nash threw a pass to Jodie Meeks late in the second quarter and he scored on a dunk. It was Nash’s fifth assist of the game, enough to get him past Mark Jackson for the third most assists in NBA history. 10,335 dimes in his 18-year career. It’s hard to imagine the number of layups, lobs, jumpers and three pointers that resulted from a pass by one of the craftiest point guards in our lifetime. It’s ironic that Nash should reach such a milestone wearing a Laker uniform, when the purple and gold had long been on the suffering end of the veteran’s previous 16-years’ worth of assists. With just over a minute left in the first half, Nash checked out of the game to a standing ovation by a fanbase who has hungered for his greatness the last two seasons, but is left wonting still. Despite such disappointing back-to-back seasons as a Laker, however, it’s hard not to admire Nash for his extensive career. He, like Kobe Bryant, comes from a generation of players who are a scarcity in this league; the players who chose skill development over power and physicality; players who built their success on a solid foundation of work ethic instead of entitlement. That’s the legacy that Nash leaves behind, even despite a modest night of three points and five assists tonight.
Jodie Meeks and Nick Young – Probably the two players this season who brought the crowd to their feet most often, Meeks and Young were a productive pair tonight. Meeks finished with 30 points on 12-21 from the field. Young led the team with his 32 points on 11-19 from the field, 6-10 from three, all in just under 23 minutes of playing time.
Assists – The Lakers handed out 38 assists of the 44 field goals they made, led by Jordan Farmar’s eight dimes.
LOW POINTS aka EVERYTHING ELSE
Points In the Paint Allowed – 80 points. Even without Dwight Howard on the floor, out with a sprained ankle, Houston was dunking all night, and why wouldn’t they with the Lakers doing so little to stop them.
Points Allowed In General – 145 points, the most that the Lakers have allowed an opponent to score all season. After letting the Rockets score 49 points in the third quarter, the Lakers went into the fourth having allowed 115 points already. Houston shot 75% from the field in the third, 18-24 shots and 7-10 from three. James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 33 points apiece.Their point total in each quarter were as follows: 35, 31, 49 and 30 and by the end of the game, they stood at 58% shooting for the night.
Rebounds – Houston outrebounded the Lakers 58-33.
What can we expect from two teams who have almost the exact opposite of records (51-25 for Houston and 25-52 for the Lakers before tip-off)? This team is completely unrecognizable, what with players jumping in and out of the line-up due to injury. No Kobe, no Pau, no Xavier Henry (who is having surgery for two injuries), and most recently, no Kent Bazemore who has a torn tendon on his right foot. Misfortune doesn’t care if the season is almost over. It continues to take each Laker down one by one. With just four games left, the end can’t come soon enough.