Big scoring from Harden not enough to push Rockets past Lakers
Scoring definitely wasn’t the problem in the Houston Rockets’ season opener loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. With James Harden debuting as point guard, the Rockets put up a solid 114 points – not quite enough to top the Lakers’ 120.
The defense was where Houston lacked. They had trouble guarding Julius Randle, who scored 18 points and had seven rebounds, as well as D’Angelo Russell (20 points) and Jordan Clarkson (25 points and three steals). The Rockets’ poor defense isn’t a new issue, and it certainly isn’t an issue that’s being ignored; they do practice defense. They’re just not stopping the other team.
James Harden’s skills on offense might be enough to get the Rockets a few wins, but they won’t be a winning team until they stop the other teams from scoring. Still, you can argue that this was the first game of the season – the Rockets need time to get warmed up. They’d just better get warmed up quickly or they’ll find themselves playing catch up.
“It’s only one game,” said Harden. “We still trying to figure out both ends of the floor. I told the guys in order for us to win together, you got to lock in defensively. First quarter, first half, shake the rust off, but that second half we didn’t get stops when we needed to, and they made big shots.”
Listen to the guy who made 34 points and a career-high 17 assists last night.
The Rockets finish out this week with consecutive games against the Dallas Mavericks, then set off Tuesday on a five-game trip to Cleveland, New York, Atlanta, Washington, and San Antonio.