Lakers VS Houston Rockets 8/7/2020 – Highlights and Insight

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Los Angeles Lakers

Abysmal. Shockingly abysmal. What the hell is this effort you may ask? Great question, when you find and answer then let me know.

It is bad when the Phoenix Suns are showing you up since starting in the bubble environment. I mean the Phoenix Suns, who you probably can’t name a single player outside of Devin Booker if you were put on the spot to do so. LeBron alluded to something that was highly cryptic last night that is a possible cause for concern – “There’s just some things that you really can’t control that are here that I don’t really want to talk about that’s kind of off the floor. You just try to be there for your teammates.” What…the…hell…does that mean? Is it that the Disney World characters are going through the hotel hallways yelling things at all hours of the night to keep players from sleeping? Is it inner team turmoil? If you’ve been a Laker fan for a while, you will remember back in 2011 when the Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs and that Pau Gasol mysteriously disappeared and seriously lacked in his play to the point where Phil Jackson rolled up a piece of paper and hit him in the chest while yelling at him to wake up. The Lakers went on to lose that series, badly. Fast forward to 2020 and whatever is going on with this current group, there is a significant drop off in production, the offense is unbelievably stagnant, and even the digital fans in the stands are found often time doing a blank stare into the abyss of “what is happening” reactions.

LeBron didn’t play in this one citing that he had a sore right groin which is secret code for “load management on back-to-backs”. This one would be up to Anthony Davis to lead the charge, and he led the charge into the ground tonight. The Lakers shot a pathetic 2-19 from three-point territory well on their way to another insanely bad brick fest, while the Rockets made 21-57. I’m pretty sure that there are high school teams that can shoot better than this, and there definitely are college teams that could have out-shot the Lakers tonight.

The Lakers seem to be going through the motions for the remaining games that they have left before the playoffs begin, which is not a good thing as they need to be getting themselves back to the level of play they were at before the pause. The energy was nowhere tonight on offense or defense, the Lakers cut it to 5 but then JR Smith(Laker) wasn’t having it and decided enough success was enough and committed as many low basketball IQ plays sequentially as is humanly possible, which allowed the Rockets to explode the lead back up to a 113-97 lead. Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers in scoring with 21, which is not a good thing. Coach Frank Vogel mentioned that health has been an issue lately with some guys being banged up, and that they will take precautions concerning the health of the players.

The big takeaway here is that the Lakers need to be experimenting with different rotations right now, especially on the defensive end as if everything stands as is right now, LeBron would end up having to guard both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on top of having to carry the burden of the offensive load for the Lakers. That is a recipe for burn out. Anthony Davis needs to step up his game and show that he has the capability of being aggressive when it counts down the stretch. So far, he has not proven that consistently. Everyone in the basketball world knows that the Western Conference Finals matchup is destined to be the Lakers vs. Clippers. Based on the effort from the recent games, the Lakers would not be able to match the contributions of the Clippers bench. The Lakers have the best two players of any team on the floor any night, and they’re going to not only need LeBron and AD to be all-time legends in their play, but they will need guys like Caruso, Kuzma, Dwight Howard, JR Smith to be contributing in major ways to win the title.