As the season continues, so have the Lakers struggles. No longer merely plagued by lineup and coaching changes, the Lakers now have to learn how to play without Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, who are out indefinitely.
Injuries have kept Steve Nash and Dwight Howard from playing together and developing chemistry with each other and the team.
In Texas this week, the now 15-20 Lakers faced the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.
After taking a 14-point lead early on, the injury-depleted Lakers bewilderingly blew a big lead to find themselves down by double-digits in the second half to the now 21-15 Houston Rockets, who won the game 125-112. In that game, Nash earned his 10,000th assist. James Harden led the Rockets with 31 points and 9 assists. The Lakers were paced by Metta World Peace’s 24 points on 4 three’s. Only Carlos Delfino had more three’s (5), as his 19 points off the bench was the nail in the coffin for L.A.
Lakers v Rockets:
Usually, there isn’t anything surprising about an injured team losing, but the Lakers were the aggressors in the first half. Despite not having Gasol, Howard, or even Jordan Hill, the Lakers looked fresh, athletic, and energetic due to the influx of youth—Darius Morris and Robert Sacre. From the first half of the Houston game, the Lakers might be able to figure out how to win games without Gasol or Howard, who will be re-evaluated as early as next week. Sacre looked terrific in over 27 minutes of play. Sacre provided offensive and defensive energy, resulting in 10 points and 4 blocks.
The next night, the Lakers faced the 28-10 Spurs, who have been on another surprising tear this season.
Lakers v Spurs:
The Lakers lost a close one, 108-105, to the San Antonio Spurs, who were led by Tony Parker’s 24 points and 6 assists. In a losing effort, Kobe Bryant had 27 points and Nash dropped in 9 dimes for the Lakers.
From their latest Texas two-step, although the Lakers learned they might not be able to beat the Spurs or the Rockets without their big guys, the Lakers might have figured out a way to effectively use some of their young bench players. Riding a five-game losing streak, the Lakers need to string some wins together.
Rob S. De France is a College and University Instructor of English Composition living in Los Angeles. He has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition. De France has played, coached, and officiated competitive high school basketball in California for many years. Recently, De France, his wife, and another colleague started an internationally read magazine at Shwibly.com.