L.A. fails to measure up to the Rockets
After an impressive win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Houston Rockets on the second night of a back-to-back set.
Los Angeles had its work cut out for it, as it was without Anthony Davis, who was sitting out to rest his right foot, on top of the absences of LeBron James and Mo Bamba.
With a very small lineup, the Lakers were simply too vertically challenged to seriously challenge a young and energetic Houston squad. In particular, they got beat in two big effort categories: rebounding and points in the paint.
They were outscored 78-46 in the paint, as they couldn’t stop Houston from getting to the basket off the dribble, and they also got outrebounded by 13. To make matters worse, L.A. shot just 37.4 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3-point range.
The final score of 114-110 wasn’t indicative of how much the Rockets outplayed the Lakers.
With this loss, the Lakers are still in 10th place in the Western Conference, but they’re now 2.5 games behind the sixth-place Los Angeles Clippers.
Rui Hachimura: D
Hachimura got the start in place of Davis, but he gave Los Angeles very little. He scored just five points on 2-of-5 shooting, and his only other contribution on the stat sheet was one blocked shot in 17 minutes.
Jarred Vanderbilt: A-
Vanderbilt did his part on Wednesday by grabbing 10 rebounds, eight of them coming in the first half. He also gave the Lakers a lift offensively in the third quarter with eight points in the first five minutes of the period, allowing him to finish with 13 points.
The forward also had five assists, and he displayed his open-court skills by leading several fast breaks and finishing a couple of them with an assist to the open man. The Lakers had a decent 20 fast-break points, which was one of the few departments in which they didn’t struggle.
Defensively, Vanderbilt was assigned to guard Jalen Green, and with his help, the Rockets guard shot just 4-of-13.
Troy Brown Jr.: B+
Brown continued his accurate shooting of late by hitting 2-of-4 shots from beyond the arc and finishing with eight points. However, the Lakers could’ve used more of that from him, as they simply couldn’t get enough shots to fall from that distance.
D’Angelo Russell: C+
For the second straight game, Russell was underwhelming after two blisteringly hot games on Friday and Sunday. He shot pretty accurately in the first half, but he went cold afterward and finished just 5-of-17 overall and 3-of-11 from downtown.
Russell did manage to end with seven assists, but he also had four turnovers.
This was a night where L.A. needed the type of laser-like shooting he had over the weekend, as no one got hot consistently for it.
Malik Beasley: D
After a very hot and impressive shooting performance on Tuesday, Beasley returned to the type of cold shooting that has been predominant for him since joining the Lakers. He got up 17 shots but made just six of them, making his 16 points feel like empty calories.
Wenyen Gabriel: A
Along with Vanderbilt, Gabriel was the only Lakers player who was on his game against Houston. He snatched 14 rebounds, seven of them coming off the offensive glass, while adding six points, two steals and one assist in 33 minutes.
After coming off the bench in the first half, head coach Darvin Ham had Gabriel on the court to start the second half. The move worked for a while, as L.A. was able to trim a 16-point deficit to five when he scored with 3:01 left in the third quarter.
Dennis Schroder: D+/C-
Schroder scored 16 points in 25 minutes, but he shot just 3-of-10 from the field and had no assists. However, he did a good job of drawing fouls, as he ended up shooting 12 free throws and made 10 of them.
Austin Reaves: B
Reaves played hard and helped out on Wednesday, even though he wasn’t efficient offensively. He shot just 6-of-14 overall and a chilly 1-of-7 from 3-point land, but he still managed to lead the Lakers with 24 points.
He also had seven assists, tying him with Russell for a game-high in that category, against just one turnover, and he added four rebounds and one steal in 27 minutes.
Lonnie Walker IV: D
Walker played 11 minutes against the Rockets, which is the most playing time he has gotten since last Tuesday’s contest against the Memphis Grizzlies. He wasn’t able to give the Lakers much, as he made just 1-of-4 shots and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire