If there was one game the Houston Rockets could win before the conclusion of the 2021 regular-season campaign, surprisingly, it came against the current defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. The injury-riddled Lakers entered Wednesday’s game without LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (groin).
The Rockets took advantage of the depleted Lakers by pulling off a near comeback victory. Los Angeles held a 120-113 lead with less than five minutes left in the game. Houston closed the night on a 9-2 run that resulted in a 124-122 loss to the short-handed Lakers inside the Staples Center.
With the loss, the Rockets dropped their seventh consecutive game, as their record fell to 16-54 on the season. The Lakers improved their record to 40-30 while sweeping their regular-season series (3-0) against the Rockets.
Armoni Brooks scored a career-best 24 points (9-18 FG, 4-11 3PT) and six rebounds off the bench. Kelly Olynyk added in 24 points ( 6-11 FG, 4-6 3PT), to go along with eight assists and six rebounds in the loss.
“Once we got into the fourth quarter, we were in the huddle saying, ‘it’s winning time.’ We had a great chance to win the game at the end, but the final play did not go our way.” — Brooks”
Armoni Brooks. Career high 24 points. pic.twitter.com/ejxGFUt0ba— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 13, 2021
Cameron Oliver played a significant role in the Rockets nearly spoiling the Lakers’ chances of avoiding the play-in tournament. He scored a career-best 17 points (7-10 FG, 2-5 3PT) in just his second game with the Rockets. Kenyon Martin Jr. recorded a double-double with 20 points (7-10 FG, 3-5 3PT) and 10 rebounds while logging in a team-high 37 minutes of play.
The Lakers had seven players who scored in double figures in their win over the Rockets. Talen Horton-Tucker led Los Angeles in scoring with 23 points in 37 minutes. While scoring the game-winning basket late in the fourth quarter, Kyle Kuzma led all Lakers’ reserves with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
“Yes, I am disappointed that we loss. But I can’t overstate how proud I am of this group and these guys and how hard they’re fighting. I’ve got multiple guys out there that are just limping around.” — Stephen Silas
Following the loss, the Rockets will return to their home floor on Friday to try and end their seven-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip-off is slated for 8:00 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.