LeBron James (48 points) pulled out all the stops to fend off Houston
Sometimes not custom, it is thanks to a correct external address (5/11) that the Lakers took a good start. The Rockets are holding on, however, thanks to 11 points each from the duo Alperen Sengun – Eric Gordon (37-35). Like Wenyen Gabriel, the Lakers dominated the offensive rebound and outscored their opponent 10-0 (47-35).
Sengun signed a festival! Turk compiled 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in the second quarter to revive Houston, but Los Angeles ended the half on a 10-3 run thanks to LeBron James to go (73-61).
While Alperen Sengun continued his work, it was the awakening of Jalen Green, then 2/12 on shots, that allowed the Rockets to attack their opponents. He scored his last four shots, including three from 3-pointers, to punctuate a 15-5 run that chilled the “Crypt” (102-98). LeBron James had seen enough by then. He started the final quarter by scoring nine straight points to give the Lakers a thirteen-point lead (113-100).
The Rockets, however, are not conceding defeat. Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jabari Smith brought Houston back by two points several times, but LeBron James and Russell Westbrook made sure to leave the Lakers ahead. In the end, it was a basket at 45 degrees with the “King” board and an offensive foul from Alperen Sengun that sealed the victory for Los Angeles. But it got complicated…
WHAT YOU SHOULD REMEMBER
– Record night for Alperen Sengun. Throughout the first half, the Turkish pivot kept his team from ambushing by showing all of his panoply. Dominant near the circle, efficient from distance, and well placed on defense, he became the youngest player in Rockets history, ahead of Hakeem Olajuwon, who recorded a game with 30 points and 10 rebounds. If we add his 4 blocks, and he becomes the youngest player with this stat line since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015/16.
– The Rockets boys have heart. Houston has the worst record in the NBA this season but against the Lakers, their passion and all their potential allowed them to hope for a hold-up. Apart from Alperen Sengun’s capital performance, Jalen Green, Kenyon Martin Jr, Jabari Smith Jr, answered the repeated attacks from LeBron James. This carelessness, however, ended up costing them the match when Green lost the ball when attacking the circle.
– 20 points in the last quarter for LeBron James. Eventually the King decided to play the role of babysitter. With the Rockets trailing -4 before the final quarter, he attacked the Texas defense to create a hole, before keeping the Lakers ahead with another Rockets comeback attempt. LeBron James scored 20 of the Lakers’ 38 points in the last quarter!
✅ LeBron James. The “King” has held the Lakers at arm’s length since Anthony Davis’ injury, and he continued tonight. He finished with 48 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds! LeBron James has now scored at least 40 points against every NBA franchise except the Clippers, who he faces this week.
✅ Russell Westbrook. The leader continues to have an impact outside the bank. He scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half.
✅ Alperen Sengun. The Rockets center finished with his best game of the season with a career-high 33 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocks. He might be the hero of the night.
✅⛔ Jalen Green. Returning from suspension, Houston’s back was clearly out of rhythm in the first half (2/12 on shots), before exploding in the second half where he scored 17 of his 23 points.
⛔ Thomas Bryant. Crucial for a few weeks for the Lakers, he couldn’t slow down Alperen Sengun. He played just 18 minutes for 6 points on 1/6 shooting and 6 rebounds.
LA Lakers (20-24) : reception of the Kings on Wednesday.
Houston (10-34): receiving the Hornets on Wednesday.