By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers played Dwight Howard and his new team for the first time since he left the team in free agency and it ended in Hollywood fashion. The Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 off a big shot by Steve Blake with one second remaining.
The Lakers had a great first half leading by 14 points and shot 11 of 14 from the three but they could not keep it consistent in the second half. Rockets slowly brought the game closer and closer until it was finally a game for the Rockets to win. Turnovers became a big issue for the Lakers having a total of 24 tonight. James Harden led the Rockets with 35 points while Howard scored 15 but could not score free throws that could have put the game away for his team when the Mike D’Antoni chose to go with “hack-a-howard.”
Pau Gasol had a horrible game shooting 1 for 10 ending the night with only two points. Jodie Meeks led the Lakers in scoring with 18 points and was 5 for 7 from the three point line. Wesley Johnson had his best game as a Lakers with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. A total of six Laker players ended the game in double digits. The play of the night went to Blake who hit the game winning shot over his former teammate Howard. Blake finished the night with 14 points and 2 assists.
The Lakers will play another game tomorrow night against the New Orleans Pelicans in what will be a tough match up with a team full of young and athletic players. The Lakers will be without Steve Nash who will be resting on back to back games this year. With a big win tonight it will be interesting to see if the Lakers will carry over the energy into tomorrow’s game or if they are left without energy on back to back games.