Heading into consecutive home games versus the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, several members of the Houston Rockets suggested that it would be a useful test to see where they stood.
The Rockets certainly got some answers, but they weren’t the ones the team was hoping for. After losing by 18 points on Sunday, Houston fell behind by 21 after just the first quarter on Tuesday, leading to an uncompetititve 117-100 loss (box score) to the Lakers at Toyota Center.
The Rockets (3-6) have now lost four of five games and are a season-worst three games below .500, while the Lakers (8-3) have won seven of eight and sit atop the Western Conference as the No. 1 seed.
LeBron James had 26 points and 8 rebounds, while Anthony Davis added 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks. The Lakers shot an impressive 14-of-32 (43.8%) on 3-pointers, led by 4-of-5 by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and their collective length and defensive intensity helped limit Houston to a 12-of-40 shooting night (30.0%) from 3-point range.
Christian Wood led Houston with 18 points and 8 rebounds, but veteran guards James Harden and John Wall were held well below their usual averages with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Between the two, they shot just 9-of-27 (33.3%) overall. The fourth quarter consisted of primarily bench players, since Houston entered trailing by 26 points. Veterans DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon each scored 13 in limited minutes.
The more noteworthy takeaways came in Tuesday’s postgame media availabilities, when head coach Stephen Silas and select Houston players were asked to make sense of what had happened to lead to consecutive embarrassing results. Harden made his stance fairly clear regarding his known desire for a trade, while Wall took a more optimistic approach that things could eventually be salvaged after a slow start.
Here’s a roundup of their comments.
https://twitter.com/BenDuBose/status/1349196511037554689 https://twitter.com/BenDuBose/status/1349197009295708164 https://twitter.com/clutchfans/status/1349197181769625602 https://twitter.com/clutchfans/status/1349197822030209025 https://twitter.com/cayleighgriffin/status/1349198011113623552 https://twitter.com/espn_macmahon/status/1349198440148959232 https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Feigen/status/1349198511825444865 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349199447113293825 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349199749547761665 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349200406593888258
https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349208515987050496 https://twitter.com/clutchfans/status/1349208404640858118 https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1349208284981563393 https://twitter.com/cayleighgriffin/status/1349208372038479873 https://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1349207861189074945 https://twitter.com/espn_macmahon/status/1349207705282637826
https://twitter.com/BenDuBose/status/1349210364651692032 https://twitter.com/Rockets_Insider/status/1349216795522179072 https://twitter.com/BenDuBose/status/1349210967532568576 https://twitter.com/KellyIkoNBA/status/1349211281841147907 https://twitter.com/Rockets_Insider/status/1349211313302614016 https://twitter.com/kimydavis/status/1349211718443036672 https://twitter.com/clutchfans/status/1349211852560101377 https://twitter.com/KellyIkoNBA/status/1349212354970607617 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349212832127193088 https://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1349212605576065025 https://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1349213566696628226 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349214451325689860 https://twitter.com/Rockets_Insider/status/1349215028415754241 https://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1349215103707717638 https://twitter.com/AdamSpolane/status/1349215462211645441
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