Apr 8, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers forward Wesley Johnson (11) at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets Dominate Lakers 145-130

The regular season is almost over for the Lakers, but they will apparently continue to sing the blues. The Houston Rockets continued to stomp on the Lakers’ morale by thoroughly beating them 145-130.

The Rockets had a field day exploiting the Laker defense. As a team, Houston shot 57.7% from the field and 42.3% from downtown. James Harden and Terrence Jones were relentless on offense tonight dropping 33 points a piece. Despite his scoring, Harden also proved to be unselfish by dishing the ball to his teammates for a total of 12 assists to finish the game with a double double. Donatas Montiejunas (13 points) and Omer Asik (10 points) also contributed to the double double train by grabbing 15 rebounds each, and helping the Rockets thoroughly out rebound the Lakers 58-33. Chandler Parsons also had a solid scoring night dropping 19 points, and Isaiah Canaan had a nice contribution off the bench scoring 15 points.

The Lakers once again failed to play any semblance of defense tonight as they allowed almost 150 points (which is normally only seen in an All-Star game). The Rockets scored 80 points in the paint tonight (on 40/60 shooting inside), while the Lakers only scored 46. The game was somewhat close throughout the first half as the Lakers were only down 61-66 at halftime, but once again the third quarter proved to be the Los Angeles kryptonite; they allowed the Rockets to score 49 points in the third quarter alone, which gave Houston a 115-90 lead going into the fourth. Scoring for the Lakers has not been an issue all season long, but based on the outcomes of previous games, the defensive struggles for the Lakers will undoubtedly continue through the end of the season. The ability of the Lakers to put up 110+ points a game is impressive, but their inability to protect the rim has proven to be the biggest chink in their armor. The Houston Rockets (as well as previous opponents) had run a layup and dunk line on the Lakers’ defense basically all game long, as they met no resistance from any Laker almost anywhere on the floor.

The scoring for the Lakers was plentiful tonight, despite their inability to keep up with Houston’s scoring. Nick Young had a great offensive night scoring 32 points on 11-19 shooting. Jodie Meeks also played an important offensive role last night scoring 30 points, and distributing the ball for 6 assists. Ryan Kelly (18 points) and Jordan Farmar (15 points) also provided aggressive scoring for the Lakers last night. Farmar was the leading assister for the Lakers with 8 total assists. Steve Nash did play, but only contributed 5 assists, and unfortunately suffered some problems with the nerve root irritation in his back, causing him to believe that his season is about over.

Despite the abundance of negativity last night, Steve Nash actually provided a bright spot for the Lakers by making NBA history. With his 5 assists tonight, Nash surpassed Mark Jackson to become 3rd on the NBA’s all-time assists list.

Game Notes

With the loss last night to the Rockets, the Lakers record the most losses in a season since the franchise moved to Los Angeles. The Lakers re-sign GM Mitch Kupchak to a multi-year contract extension. Steve Nash believes his season is over as he claims he suffered yet another setback with his nerve root irritation last night. Lakers have 4 games left and will be facing the Golden State Warriors on Friday April 11 at 7:30 PST.

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