Battier Sends Lakers to Fourth Straight Loss
The Lakers entered Wednesday night desperately needing a victory and a complete team effort to end their three game slump. All started well in Houston, but slowly slipped away from the Struggling Lakers as they let their fourth straight slip away. Shane Battier led his team to victory with 11 of his 17 points in the fourth as the rockets prevailed 109-99.
The Los Angeles Lakers started this game playing the way all Lakers fans know and love. They drove to the basket, they attacked the rim, and they snatched almost all rebounds limiting second chance opportunities. Lamar was aggressive from the start which gave the Lakers the early advantage. The bench showed up for the first time in nearly a week as Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes and even rookie Derrick Caracter put together several meaningful minutes, as the bench put the Lakers ahead by twelve entering the two minute mark of the second quarter.
What was once a twelve point lead for Los Angeles quickly disappeared as the Rockets trimmed it to three before the half. This was just a start of what was to come.
In the third quarter Lamar continued with his best game of the season driving to the hoop, and pulling up from range he kept the Lakers afloat as Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant spent most of the quarter on the bench. Lamar wrapped up his tenth Double-Double of the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Matt Barnes made his presence felt of the Bench adding consecutive Three point plays to once again give the Lakers some breathing room, but as the theme continued the Lakers let the Rockets back into the game and ended the third with just a two point lead.
In the forth neither team lead by a large margin as the teams traded hoop for hoop for much of the quarter. Though with only a three point lead and 2:30 remaining the Lakers for the third time of the night let a lead disappear. Battier hit a corner three to tie the game at 97 then added another from range to give the rockets the three point advantage. He then hit two free throws, was then fouled shooting a three and converted three more free ones. In the blink of an eye it was 105-99 with just 35 seconds remaining, after two 30 foot jumpers from Kobe rattled out it was all over. The Lakers were on their way to their sixth loss on the young season, and their fourth in a row.
The biggest problem with this loss was the Lakers laziness and their inability to stick to the game plan. The Lakers were able to build a big lead in the first half do to points in the paint, Pau, Lamar, Kobe, and even Ron Artest were able to score at will in the paint. Once the Lakers started taking only jump shots, the Rockets were able to seize the momentum and take control of the game.
This current four game losing streak is the Lakers longest since the 06-07 season and is major cause for concern. The Lakers will try to end this streak on Friday night as the Lakers and Sacramento Kings will square off at Staples Center.
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer
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