The Rockets appear profoundly broken this season as the James Harden era zooms toward a potentially ugly conclusion.
Harden’s play (and off-court conduct) have been questionable, and the parts around him are insufficient. In Tuesday’s 117-100 loss to the Lakers, Harden shot 5-for-16 from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. This is his worst month in years.
Opponents are now taking turns celebrating all over Houston (3-6), a stark change from the days Harden was dropping defenders to the ground and staring at them before hitting shots. LeBron James and the Los Angeles bench had a blast in sending the Rockets to their fourth defeat in five games.
On one 3-pointer, James turned around to face his bench before his corner attempt reached the bucket. When the ball dropped through the net, his teammates chased him down the floor laughing.
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It wasn’t too long ago when the Lakers were the broken ones. Back then, former wing Nick Young famously tried the look-away 3-pointer but had the ball rim out as his back faced the basket. Acquiring James and Anthony Davis was certainly an avenue toward improved fortunes.
James finished Tuesday with a game-high 26 points in 29 minutes. Davis contributed 10 rebounds and five blocks as part of his strong all-around line.