Saturday’s prime time basketball saw the Lakers vs Rockets at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston. The purple and gold were aiming to get back on winning ways after a bitter home defeat to the Magic on Wednesday night.
Coming into last night contest the Lakers were unsettled by the explosive start by Houston, especially by Russell Westbrook. With 22 points already in the first half of 9-12 shooting, a new defensive assignment for the Lakers was needed.
Assign Kuzma to Westbrook ?
Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma not known for his defensive attributes, more on the other side of the game with his scoring potency. However, the difference of assigning a 6’9 forward on 6’3 guard really played dividends. As a result, Westbrook was limited to only 13 points in the second half.
A catalyst for the Lakers impressive 124-115 win.
In addition, when Kuzma guarded Westbrook, the Rockets
“Rondo kind of pulled me to the side at halftime in the locker room and just asked me if I could guard him, and I said, ‘Of course,”Kuzma said. The forward continued to elaborate on the defensive game plan “He’s a big, strong, physical guard. In the second half, that kind of got eliminated, putting a bigger body on him”.
Furthermore, Kuzma also showcased a great display on the offensive end, chipping in 23 points alongside 8 rebounds. Kuzma shot 50% from the
Player of the game – LeBron James who once again stole the show and delivered a sensational performance at the Toyata Center. With 31 points and 12 assists, James was looking to deny a possible two game losing streak. “We hated the loss that we had the other night against Orlando,” James said. “So, we had a couple of days to kind of just reshape, refocus and start the second half of the season the right way, and we did that tonight.”
Houston Rockets are coming off a third straight loss after the Saturday nights defeat. Mike D’Antoni spoke to media after the game and expressed his thoughts on the Rockets dreadful form.” “We’re just not playing well right now,” We haven’t played well for a couple of weeks. And the only way you can get out of it is play hard, keep your head down and just go forward.”
Russell Westbrook dropped 35 points for his fourth straight 30-point game and James Harden had 34 points for the Rockets. James Harden remains extremely positive that the Rockets can break out of this losing run.
Houston used a 6-0 run late in the 4th quarter to cut the deficit , however the Lakers responded and negated a promising comeback by the Rockets in order to close out the game.
The Los Angeles Lakers improve to 18-3 on the road ,with an overall record of 34-8 for the season. The Lakers remain top of the western conference standings.
Up next for the Lakers & Rockets
Up next for the purple and gold is another road trip down the east coast to face the (27-14) Boston Celtics.
Houston will host Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
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