Still the King: Three takeaways from Monday’s 140-132 loss to the Lakers

Jan 16, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots the ball against Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) in the second half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Still the King: Three takeaways from Monday’s 140-132 loss to the Lakers

The Rockets lost their 11th in a row, but it didn’t come without a fight; they just came up short in a 140-132 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets had no answers for LeBron James, who in the second night of a back-to-back, scored 48 points on 16-of-26 shooting. He scored 20 points in a fourth quarter that saw the Rockets battle to within two points after trailing by as many as 13, but a Jalen Green turnover resulted in a Russell Westbrook dunk with 1:21 to play, and the Rockets never had the ball trailing by less than four the rest of the night. Westbrook finished the game with 24 points. Alperen Sengun’s career-high 33 points led the Rockets.

Death by the three

The Lakers entered Monday’s game as the NBA’s fourth-worst 3-point shooting, hitting from long distance at a 33.7% clip, a number that dipped to 27% during their three-game losing streak. As luck would have it, the Lakers came alive from downtown against the Rockets. The Lakers converted on 40% of their first 30 3-point attempts, paced by LeBron James, who shot 5-of-10 from deep. James entered the game shooting a career-worst 28% from behind the 3-point line, but teams and players just find a way to get right against you when things are going bad.

Alperen Sengun’s brilliance

Sengun started the Rockets’ four-game swing through California by becoming the youngest Rocket to finish a game with a triple-double, and he finished it by scoring a career-high 33 points on 14-of-17 shooting. The Lakers had no answers for Sengun, and it got to the point where LeBron James started defending him because Thomas Bryant stood no chance.

Sengun finished with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first half, but we’ve seen him have big first halves and then see the Rockets forget about him, like when he scored 18 points against Minnesota through two quarters on Jan. 8 only to go scoreless after the break. That didn’t happen on Monday. Sengun scored 10 points before five minutes elapsed off the clock in the third quarter.

The Rockets center didn’t just score on Monday. He finished with 15 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocks. He also made multiple 3-pointers for the first time this season.

Jalen Green finishes strong after a poor start

In the last game he played on Friday in Sacramento, Jalen Green scored 25 points in the first half on 9-of-15 shooting, only to score 2 points on 1-of-6 shooting after halftime. He was suspended for Sunday’s game after leaving the bench area during the Garrison Mathews-Malik Monk altercation, and Monday’s first half looked like a repeat of Friday’s second half. Green scored six points on just 2-of-10 shooting, but things started to click again after the break.

Green missed his first two shots of the third quarter but made his last four, with three coming from behind the 3-point line. The Rockets guard finished with 23 points and made half of his 10 field goal attempts in the second half.

Next up

The Rockets will return home to take on LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *