Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers provided us with one memorable match tonight. The boys from Texas won at Toyota Center, after overtime, and by erasing a 20-point deficit. In the end, it was 138-134 for the hosts.
Injury-prone Rockets were led by, who else than James Harden who had another superb performance, knocking down 48 points. But beside him, Eric Gordon, who was the hero of the night.
Houston’s forward hit the game-tying three, which forced the overtime. But not only that he was the most credible player, for overcoming the Lakers in the overtime as he scored 10 of Rockets’ 18 buckets.
His presence on the court is precious for Mike D’Antoni’s team, and we could see that tonight.
“I just tried to shoot that thing with confidence, and I’m glad it went in” said Gordon after the game.
The 30-year old veteran dropped 30 tonight, scoring five threes, and missing just one of this 12 free-throws. On top of that, he added 5 boards and 4 assists.
"Gordon puts up a three … BANG! BANG! He ties the game!"
— ESPN (@espn) January 20, 2019
James Harden scored 8 three-pointers in 19 shots, grabbing 8 boards and dishing 6 dimes. It was his 19th consecutive game with 30 or more points, 10th in the previous 13 with 40 at least.
But during the interview after the game, Harden was all about Gordon, not wanting to put himself in the focus of the media.
“It takes a lot of burden off me,” Harden said. “He’s so offensively gifted and talented being able to shoot the basketball, being able to get to the rim, being able to make plays for others. You get a guy like that on the floor with you it makes it easier for not only myself but for everybody.”
The Rockets were down 20 points when Lonzo Ball scored with 1:11 before the end of the first half. The young guard was the main reason for such a development on the court, with him being the motor of Lakers offense. While on the floor, Ball had 11 assists, in just 22 minutes, along with 8 points.
Lonzo Ball had to be carried off the court after this ankle injury.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 20, 2019
But his injury in the third quarter changed everything. Ball’s health condition was already vulnerable, coming into this one with issues regarding his ankle. He had to leave the contest, after one contact with Ennis, which caused for him to hurt his other ankle. From that moment on, the Lakers game fell apart.
“Right when Lonzo went out. That’s exactly when it went away. We lost momentum a little bit.” Brandon Ingram said.
Coach Luke Walton was furious at the referees, because of not calling it a foul on Ball. He was ejected after receiving two technical fouls and had to leave the game. This one, and several questionable calls before that made the young coach very angry.
This is not the first time, for the matchups between Rockets and Lakers to be very intense.
Kyle Kuzma was the best scorer with the guests, with 32 points, shooting 12 of 19 from the field, and collecting 8 rebounds. Brandon Ingram was right behind him with 21 buckets, while Ivica Zubac played another good game, reaching 17 points and 7 rebounds, being perfect from the free throw line, 9 of 9.
JaVale McGee posted a double-double 12 points and 14 boards.
The Lakers were more than dominant in the air, having 17 rebounds more than Houston, 56-39. Meanwhile, the home team fired 68 shots from behind the arc, 25 of them successful.
After a long time, the Lakers aren’t among the teams in the playoff zone. At the moment, they are 9th with 25 wins and 22 losses, and for the moment without LeBron, Rondo, and now Ball. According to sources, Ball’s latest setback isn’t dangerous, but still, he will have to rest for a while. Previously mentioned veterans should be back on the court during the next week.
Purple and gold plays it’s next game on Monday against the Warriors at Staples Center.
Rockets have 26-19 record, and are fifth in the West. They are heading for the Philadelphia, to face the Sixers on Monday too.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.