Loss To Lakers Highlights Rockets’ Issues
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Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – That’s a bad loss, but hey, sometimes bad losses are going to happen, just the way that went down makes it a little harder to swallow.
On Thursday night at Toyota Center the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Rockets by a point. Kobe Bryant didn’t play, Pau Gasol scored two points, making just one of the ten shots he took. The Rockets were beaten by the three-headed monster of Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and Wesley Johnson. Yikes
“As everyone knows, our last two road games we really struggled,” said Steve Blake, whose left corner three pointer with 1.3 seconds left won the game, and struggle is an understatement.
The last road game the Lakers played was a 19 point loss Tuesday night in Dallas, but that was a nail biter compared to the 31 point drubbing they took in Oakland last week. Thursday night, it was LA that did the drubbing, or at least they did early.
After a quarter, the Lakers led by 17, and they streatched it to 19 early in the second.
“We can’t get down that much,” said Chandler Parsons. “Its hard to come back from that deficit.”
They did fight back. They got the lead down to 14 at the break, and four after three quarters, but it’s the end that’s most frustrating.
With less than four minutes left to play, Parsons gave the Rockets their first lead since 2-0 with a fast break dunk. It was part of a 9-0 run that gave Houston a 97-91 lead with 2:40 to play, unfortunately, they scored one more point those final 160 seconds.
“We didn’t execute well down the stretch,” said a sullen Rockets coach Kevin McHale. “We had a couple of things that we were trying to do, and we could never get into it. It cost us the game.”
You can blame the offensive execution for the loss. You can blame the bad free throw shooting too. I mean, the Rockets did miss 19 free throws (11 by Howard) in a game they lost by a point, but by doing that you are missing the bigger picture: the defense is bad.
The Lakers are a good three point shooting team. Coming into this game they were almost as good at shooting three pointers (39%) as two pointers (41%), and the Rockets allowed LA to make 12 of their first 15 tries from behind the arc. Sometimes guys make tough shots, but sometimes, they are left so wide open that it’s impossible to do so.
The defense is breaking down far too much. You can blame the talent, you can blame the effort, but at the end of the day, it’s about communication. The Rockets haven’t had it on the defensive end. That has led to confusion, which has led to breakdowns, which allowed Steve Blake to win game.’
“There must have been miscommunication,” Parsons said about that fateful play, but Chandler, often was that happening?
“All game long, mostly defensively. Just not talking, not communicating.”
Saturday night, the Rockets get the other team from LA, the good team from LA. The team from LA that hung 137 on them earlier in the week. While the last few games haven’t been works of art, its nothing a little talking can’t fix.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamSpolane
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