The schedule is finally starting to slow down. Just one game again today and likely every day moving forward, depending on tomorrows results. My job today has been made easy once again. There is only so much to write about when only one team turns up to the game.
Once again, the Houston Rockets looked like an absolute mess. They came out with zero energy and applied no effort on either end of the court. This game was over after about 4 minutes.
Obviously, it starts with James Harden. Those of you who have kept up with me over the years know that I’m not a big James Harden fan. I remember watching OKC lose to Miami back in the day and telling my brother that Harden would be something special. I don’t think he has ever lived up to the hype I had for him. Sure sometimes he shows flashes of it and there is no doubt that he can score the ball at a very high rate. Honestly though, so what? All the regular season success and individual accolades mean nothing when you can’t help your team in the playoffs. How man years has it been the same old story for Harden and the Rockets? More often than not, Harden plays with no effort and Houston follows suit. I don’t care if his scoring drops off, he needs to find a way to remain engaged on defensive every single play. Look at his stat line tonight. It looks pretty good, but it didn’t help his team any. Nobody else got going and nobody at all played defense.
What is going on with Russell Westbrook? He was so bad in about every way you could imagine. Stupid turnovers, poor shot selection, not making the right basketball plays…I could go on all night. Westbrook had a really bad game yet again, and a really bad series overall. D’Antoni should of sat Westbrook tonight. He was aggressive on offense but that doesn’t mean he was good. He could hardly score and I can’t recall a single moment that he made a good decision. Shooting when he should pass, passing when he should shoot, offensive fouls, turning the ball over…it was a very disappointing effort from Westbrook. Also, what was up with Rondo’s brother getting tossed? From what I heard on the broadcast, he was just waving goodbye to Westbrook. He can’t handle one guy taunting him? Imagine if this game was in the Staples Centre with actual fans, they would all be waving goodbye and taunting. Would he going to get everyone ejected?
Feel free to work your way down the rest of the Rockets’ roster and apply similar criticisms. Same with Mike D’Antoni. I’m done talking about them. There was about 2 minutes in this game where the Rockets actually played basketball. They went on a 17-2 run in that stretch. They played good defensive and it lead to some easy offense for them. That was about all though. The whole team missed shots and played lazy defense. Let’s talk about L.A.
It was another good night to be a Lakers fan. Such an impressive all round effort for them. I don’t want all my criticisms of Houston to over shadow a very strong performance from LeBron and the Los Angeles squad. They were awesome. They shot the ball at such a high percentage from start to finish and played excellent defense throughout. It should give them a bit of confidence and momentum as they head into the conference finals against the Clippers.
How good is LeBron James? A near triple double in just over 30 minutes. 29 points on 50% shooting, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block. He played excellent defense and with high energy to match his stat sheet as well. It’s about what we come to expect from the King. I don’t want to give him all the credit though, it was a strong performance from the top down.
AD double/doubled again with 13 and 11. He didn’t get a lot of shots up which was odd, but it didn’t hurt them at all. Morris was perfect from long range, he actually only missed one shot all night. KCP shot 80% on the night. Kuzma played really well off the ball and finished with 17 points. Heck, even Danny Green was scoring with ease. Green had 4 triples on the night and shot 67% from the field and from deep. Alex Caruso didn’t score as much, but his defensive efforts were definitely noticeable. Did you see his chase down block? Similar to Houston, just work your way down the roster and apply compliments to everyone.
This wasn’t a very enjoyable game of basketball from a fans standpoint, unless you are a Lakers fan. It’s always good to see your team crush it. For the rest of us though, it was a bit boring. I don’t want to discredit L.A. or takeaway from their victory. They performed incredibly well and should be proud. They shot over 50% from the field and long range. That is such a hard thing to do over the course of a whole game. Obviously, they had a huge rebound advantage again. Surprisingly, Houston had more points in the paint. Maybe it’s not that surprising though, as I already mentioned, Davis didn’t get a lot of shots up and the Lakers were locked in from outside. Good win by the Lakers, 119-96.
Just a funny moment to close on. Gordon shot an airball from three and just managed to hit the net. Mike Breen thought it was a good shot and called it as such, before Van Gundy corrected him. They showed a replay and Been hit it with his classic “Bang!”. It was probably the highlight of the night, because it was not a competitive game at all.