- Category: Sports
- Created on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 21:26
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 677
"We thought it was going to be easier this year," Kobe said.
He laughed, but he was serious. Later that night, the Los Angeles Lakers lost for the 19th time this season.
This time it was 125-112 to the Houston Rockets (21-14), who shot 55 percent and made 11-of-25 3-pointers. James Harden had 31 points, nine assists and six rebounds while Jeremy Lin added 19 points, five assists and six rebounds for the Rockets. Chandler Parsons added 20, and Carlos Delfino scored 19 off the bench.
The Rockets were hot and the Lakers (15-19) were outmanned, physically. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill were all out with assorted health woes, so the Lakers called up Robert Sacre, who had played a game in the D-League as recently as Monday.
Well, the Rockets did not fear Sacre. With no strong defensive presence in the paint, Houston did all the things Houston wanted to do. The Rockets drove and scored, drove and got fouled, drove and pitched, drove, scored and got fouled.
There were two punctuating plays:
1. Harden received a backdoor pass from Parsons, and dunked on Sacre for a three-point play and 94-82 lead.
2. Lin smoked Metta World Peace with a jerky right-left-right crossover, drew a foul on Sacre and made the bucket to put Houston up 112-98.
"It's not the D-league," said an exhausted Sacre. "(Expletive)."
Meanwhile, some perspective has started to wash over the Lakers. Nash sat quietly at his locker and said he thought the Lakers could eventually put it together, but that it might not happen until next summer, or next season. This one, now nearly half over, is slipping away.
"This season," Nash said, "It's definitely going to be a challenge to turn it around."
Bryant was not surprised to hear Nash had said that. Bryant has experienced that same sinking sensation, and although he didn't even seem to disagree with his teammate, he finds it more difficult to accept such realities.
"He's a little more reasonable than I am," Bryant said. "That's how we kind of bounce off of each other. I'm stubborn as a mule. I'm gonna keep driving. So is he, but he seems to have a little more perspective."
This was not the conversation anyone in Los Angeles anticipated having at the start of this season, but the Lakers have already been through a coaching change and a series of crippling injuries on top of all the normal challenges associated with the kind of roster re-tooling the Lakers experienced.
The Lakers are a wet paper towel that's straining to hold their pile of problems.
"We're down," LA coach Mike D'Antoni said.
And so the Lakers embark on that great athlete's trial of not succumbing to the temptation to give up, even if just packing it in seems like the reasonable thing to do.
"It's to the point where it's unacceptable," Lakers guard Darius Morris said.
Bryant didn't say it exactly like that, but he might as well have. Actually, he said it was physically impossible for him to accept that this season is simply going to be a bad one, even though he has that feeling.
"Everybody has that," Bryant said. "But I just don't succumb to it whatsoever."
To turn it around, the Lakers will have to start playing better defense. They're the No. 5 scoring team in the NBA, but they're fifth from the bottom in points allowed. The Lakers have lost four in a row, and allowed an average of 111.8 points in those games. They made 14 3s on Tuesday, but gave up 11.
"It's mostly effort and attention to detail," D'Antoni said.
Houston does happen to be the NBA's fastest and highest-scoring team and certainly it would have helped the Lakers to have Howard or any other actual NBA player at center on Tuesday night.
"We emphasized going inside," Rockets swingman Parsons said.
That was about all it took. It was going to take a heroic night from Bryant for the Lakers to pull it off, and he didn't have that kind of night in him. It took him 22 shots to get 20 points.
In the Lakers locker room, somebody wondered if there was even anything to say about a night like that.
"Not much," Bryant said.
- Kidnapped woman gets away after abductors can't operate stick shift
- Sam Hunt makes history, explains origin of single 'Body Like a Back Road'
- Missing skinny dipper's body found by off-duty lifeguard
- DeMario Jackson reportedly in talks to join 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 25
- Inside the minds of women who have sex with boys
- Total of 6 officers shot in Florida, Pennsylvania
- Two police officers slain near Orlando, Fla.
- Girl, 14, found after fears she may have run off with her janitor, report says
- Heartbreak for family of American killed in Spain while celebrating anniversary
- 6 die in Vietnam while sawing leftover mortar shell
- Turtle with two heads spotted in Florida
- Steve Bannon exits White House, says the presidency Trump campaigned for is 'over'
- Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor flees to Colombia
- NY subway tiles with Confederate flag look to be altered
- Could the human remains found in Aruba be Natalee Holloway? Experts weigh in
- Right-wing activist faces charges from March Berkeley event
- Bruce: Media fixated on Trump, will blame him for everything
- Dashcam video shows white cop punching black man during stop
- Calvin Harris To Perform At Rihanna's Diamond Ball
- VMAs 2017: Pink To Be Honored With The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
- Taylor Swift Vows To Become A Voice For Sexual Assault Victims Following Trial Verdict
- Oprah Winfrey Letting Go Of 'Emotional Burden' Of Weight Struggles
- MTV, Record Label Debate Why 'Despacito' Video Was Left Off VMA Nominations List
- 'Deadpool 2': Female Stunt Driver Dies After On-Set Motorcycle Crash
- Taylor Swift Cries During Court Case Closing Arguments
- Teen Choice Awards 2017: Chris Pratt Makes Post-Split Appearance, Miley Cyrus Cancels Last Minute
- Shonda Rhimes Signs Deal With Netflix
- Teen Choice Awards 2017 To Honor Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars
- 'Annabelle: Creation' Scares Up $35M At Box Office
- Bruno Mars Donates $1 Million From Concert To Flint Water Crisis
- Kluber leaves start early as Indians romp past Royals, 10-1
- Rays fall to Mariners in Kiermaier's return
- Cardinals place Waino on DL, recall Mayers from Triple-A
- Royals place Soria on DL, recall McCarthy from Storm Chasers
- Boston Red Sox owner considering changing Yawkey Way to ease history of racial intolerance
- LeBron James slams Trump as 'so-called president' in Ohio speech
- Slegers helps Twins to win over Indians in MLB debut
- Jay Cutler makes Dolphins debut in preseason loss to Ravens
- Buccaneers dominate first half in preseason victory over Jaguars
- Torre, Steinbrenner confident in Jeter's ability to succeed in front office role with Marlins
- Colts might have to shrink playbook for QBs if Luck remains out
- Coming home: Cullen picks Wild for 21st NHL season