For once, the Lakers are off to a good start thanks to the right foreign address (5/11), not special. The Rockets held on thanks to 11 points each from Alperen Sengun and Eric Gordon (37-35). Like Wenyen Gabriel, the Lakers dominate the offensive rebound and outscore their opponent 10-0 (47-35).
Sengun then signs the festival! Turk had 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks to spark Houston in the second quarter, but Los Angeles ended the half on a 10-3 run thanks to the departure of LeBron James (73-61).
While Alperen keeps Sheng going, it’s Jalen Green’s wake-up call, then 2/12 on the field, allowing the Rockets to wear down their opponents. He hit his last four shots, including three from 3-point range, to go on a 15-5 (102-98) run that iced the Crypt. LeBron James had seen enough then. He began the final quarter by scoring nine consecutive points and giving the Lakers a thirteen-point lead (113-100).
Rockets do not admit defeat. Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jabari Smith put Houston back within two points on several occasions, but LeBron James and Russell Westbrook made sure to keep the Lakers ahead. Finally, a 45-degree basket with the King on the board and an offensive foul by Alperen Sengu sealed the win for Los Angeles. But it was complicated…
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– A record night for Alperen Sheng. During the first half, the Turkish pivot kept his team in ambush by showing all his restraint. Dominant near the rim, skilled from distance and well placed on defense, he finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds to become the youngest player in Rockets history, surpassing Hakeem Olajuwo. Add in his 4 blocks and he became the youngest player since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015/16 to have that stat line.
– Young rockets have a heart. Houston has the worst record in the NBA this season, but against the Lakers, their passion and potential allowed them to hope for a catch. In addition to the capital performance of Alperen Sengu, Jalen Green, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., responded to repeated attacks by LeBron James. However, this carelessness cost them the match when Green lost the ball while attacking the circle.
– 20 points in the final quarter for LeBron James. The king eventually decided to take on the role of nanny. Although the Rockets trailed -4 before the final quarter, he attacked the Texas defense to open a hole before putting the Lakers ahead in another Rockets comeback attempt. LeBron James scored 20 of the Lakers’ 38 points in the last quarter!
✅ LeBron James. “The King” has kept the Lakers at arm’s length since Anthony Davis was injured, and that continued tonight. He finished with 48 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds! LeBron James has now scored at least 40 points against every NBA franchise except the Clippers, who he will face this week.
✅ Russell Westbrook. The leader continues to make an impact on the bench. He scored 13 of 24 points in the second half.
✅ Alperen Sengun. The Rockets center finished with a season-best game with a career-high 33 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. He could have been the hero of the night.
✅⛔ Jalen Green. Houston’s backcourt was out of rhythm in the first half (2/12 shooting), scoring 17 of its 23 points before exploding in the second half.
⛔ Thomas Bryant. In a valuable few weeks for the Lakers, he was never able to slow down Alperen Sheng. He played just 18 minutes, shooting 1/6 for 6 points and 6 rebounds.
LA Lakers (20-24) : Reception of Kings on Wednesday.
Houston (10-34): hosting the Hornets on Wednesday.