Los Angeles Lakers, more leaders; James Harden, more disconnected

The second of the Rockets' two home games against the Lakers ended with another placid victory for the NBA leaders.


The Lakers had the second consecutive meeting with the Rockets as they passed through Houston. As the coronavirus continues among us, solutions like these are what we are going to see. If the competition continues, of course. The locals, for example, have already recovered from the outbreak they suffered as soon as the season began and they already have their troops almost at full capacity. And the almost is, in this case, more a matter of mental than physical disposition.

The Rockets are in the middle of a rebuild, sort of halfway between what they had and what they will have. An assumption for the future, but it is what it seems. James Harden, the team's star plenipotentiary, has to want to play. In the case of this match against the Lakers, who are more leaders in the League after this victory at the Toyota Center, laziness was the best word with which to define the performance of the bearded guard-point guard. And so the result comes out.

We could define when this party fell apart. In the opinion of this humble chronicler, already in the first quarter and already with Harden giving all the samples. What followed was a dressing task in which James's teammates gave of themselves what he already made clear that they had not and with an opponent having another placid night. Inaction was the signal for the locals, who then had to row and in the last minutes were able to put on a poor choral performance. Because if there is no conjunction between the main and the children, the function breaks down.

In the initial moments, I play two cushion for the Lakers. The attackers were Dennis Schröder and LeBron James. The common denominator? Harden himself. They attacked his defense, even shifting on blocks to stay with him, to have it easier. James from Houston was on one of those days. At the time he was labeled a bad defender and it was due to vague displays like those of this day. There was no opposition, nor was it close. Already with the substitutes on the court, even Harrell took advantage of it in a lopsided shot. The distance went up and up and the drip could not be contained until it was all flooded.

You see the effort that John Wall puts in after two years without playing or Christian Wood despite having Davis in front of him and the comparison with Harden, in terms of commitment, does not hold. They made him see it during the game and also afterwards.

Some sporadic action by Kuzma, Morris and Caldwell-Pope, in addition to what was said, was spicing up the home team problem. And from the second quarter it was also time for Anthony Davis to add on both sides.

To give an example of Harden. In the third quarter the distance rose to 28 points. Well, on the next play the player fiddled with the ball with no players next to him to end up throwing a pass to Wood. Like when Neymar threw a dribble at Athletic Bilbao with the game won, but just the other way around. It was not relevant and it is clear that either the lack of concentration on him is great or the desire to leave makes him want to make it clear in this way.

LeBron James was the best of this meeting with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Anthony Davis reached the double-double (19 + 10) and three players shared making 14 points, Schröder, Harrell and KCP. By contrast, James Harden added 16 points but with poor shooting percentages (31%, with 1/6 in triples). Placid end for the Lakers to continue on their way without major problems.

Photos from as.com
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