The Houston Roundball Review is an online basketball publication
by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets lose to Lakers Again; Harden says 'It's something that I don't think can be fixed."'
POSTED: January 12, 2021 -- 11:45 p.m. CT
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets got crushed by the Los Angeles Lakers for the second straight game. Sunday, the Lakers (9-3) beat the Rockets 120-102. Tuesday, the Lakers beat the Rockets 117-100. The Lakers toyed with the Rockets. LA led 35-14 at the end of the first quarter and 71-48 at halftime. LA led by as much as 30 points in the ball game.
Houston (3-6) never led in the game. The only tie in the game was 0-0 at the jump ball. The Rockets trailed by 21 at the end of the first quarter. Houston got no closer than 20 in the second quarter and no closer than 23 in the third quarter.
Complete butt-whoopin'. The Rockets had 18-4 run late in the fourth quarter to crawl within 18.
Losing by 18 Sunday night and 17 Tuesday night, Stephen Silas said after the game, "Obviously, these two games were not good at all."
Once Silas' postgame media session was complete, the James Harden delivered the fireworks.
"We're not even close. Honestly. To that team. Obviously, the defending champions and all the other elite teams out there. I mean you can tell the difference these last two games."
Harden was asked if was surprised they didn't make a run in the game.
He answered, "We're just not good enough. Obviously, chemistry; talent-wise; just everything. And, it's clear. Like I said these last few games. From the beginning of the game, they were just aggressive. A veteran team, obviously. A championship team; and, one of the best teams that we have in this league.
"I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."
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John Wall was asked his opinion on Harden's comments; and, John's initial answer was "No comment." However, as John's postgame media session continued, he offered more details about the Rockets as a team.
"We're one of those teams still trying to find what we are," Wall said.
"We don't even stand up when guys score," Wall continued. "Do the little things. When that happens, it trickles down from one through 15 to hurt a team."
"I know how much hard work these guys have put in since training camp; going through the preseason; to work hard to try to get better every day."
"We've only played 9 games. We're 3 and 6. There's a lot of basketball games to be played. We can't dwell on that.
"Like I've told the guys before, when the 1 through 15 guys all on the same page; they commit, they know their roles; they know what they want to do; they know what they want to get out of this and that's to win, you all will be fine.
"But, when you have certain guys in the mix that don't want to buy in all as one, it's going to be hard to do anything special; to do anything good as a basketball."
"I've been on those teams. In my 11 years in the league, I've been on teams like that my first five years where it's all about me, me, me. Not about the team. And, that hurts. And, it brings everybody down; so, when we can all get on the same page, we can be something good here."
"We can't dwell down on it because it's only been nine games. Come on, man. You want to jump off the cliff off of nine games? It's a lot of basketball to still be played."
John was asked what can be done to turn things around for the Rockets.
"The most important thing is committing on the defensive end. That's the biggest problem with anything. It's a lot of talent on this team. We can score the basketball. It's about can you defend.
"Look at it. We look like an AAU team that's one person from Maryland; one person from North Carolina; one person from South Carolina; one person from LA; and, we just meet up and play every weekend. Just go play basketball. That's who we look like in a couple games this season. Just to be honest. And, you're never going to win like that."
Lastly, John was asked to assess how he and Harden have performed as a tandem so far this season.
"I think it's been a little rocky," Wall acknowledged. "I can't lie about that. I don't think it's been the best it could be to be honest. That's all I really can say."
The Rockets head to San Antonio for the first of 2 games against the Spurs. The first match-up is Thursday, January 14, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, on TNT.
The Rockets are 1-4 when scoring below 110 points this season after going 4-15 when doing so in 2019-20. Houston is 1-6 when allowing 110 or more points this season (23-25 in 2019-20).
The Rockets lost despite having a season-high 14 steals and forcing a season-best 21 turnovers. Houston is 2-1 when having 10+ steals this season after going 20-8 when doing so in 2019-20. The Rockets had 27 points off turnovers tonight and have scored 20 or more in four of the nine games this season.
LeBron James had a game-high 26 points in 29 minutes of play. He is averaging 24.2 ppg this season. James turned 36 years old last month. He's on pace to join Karl Malone (25.5 points per game at 36 years old in 1999-00) as the only players in NBA history to have averaged at least 24.0 ppg at 36 or older. Kobe Bryant (22.3 points per game at 36 in 2014-15) was the last player 36 or older to have averaged at least 20.0 points per game in a season.
Anthony Davis had 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 29 minutes of play. He scored a total of 46 points on 16-of-20 shooting in 59 minutes of play against the Rockets over the past two games. AD is currently shooting a career-best 56.3% this season.
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