After going all-out in their early Halloween celebration on Saturday night, the Lakers handled their business on Sunday with a 95-85 win over the rebuilding Houston Rockets. The win improves the Lakers to 4-3 on the season, putting their record above .500 for the first time.
The Lakers often looked lackadaisical on offense, but made up for it by putting Houston’s young team in hell (or wherever those creepy weirdos in The Conjuring came from) on the defensive end, especially in the first half. Houston shot just 21.4% from three-point range and had a whopping 25 turnovers, many of which were unforced. Both squads had trouble finishing at the rim, but in a shocking twist of events, the team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook had an easier time.
The Big Three all finished in double-digit scoring despite another rough shooting performance. James had 15 points on 6-19 shooting with seven rebounds and eight assists, Davis added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Westbrook had 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, though he only shot 9-22 from the field.
Westbrook’s fellow Houston Rockets legend Carmelo Anthony continued his hot shooting at Staples Center with a game-high 23 points in just 25 minutes on 8-14 shooting including a 5-8 performance from the three-point line.
But it was the Lakers’ other 19-year veteran, James, who had the two highlights of the night. First, he nearly ended Alperen Sengun’s life with a spin move that sent the Rockets rookie stumbling backward. James sadly missed the ensuing shot on a night when his jumper had nothing working, but more than made up for it by turning back the clock with a nasty reverse dunk soon afterward:
With Dwight Howard out due to neck soreness, Davis started at center for the first time this season. While the latest development in the Lakers’ starting lineup saga may be a sign of things to come as guys get healthier, it might not have been the best night for Davis to start at the position he famously committed to play before training camp:
For Halloween you're supposed to dress as something you're NOT, so there is some funny irony in AD starting at center for the first time tonight lol— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 1, 2021
The Lakers may have given their fans a bit of a fright when they opened the third quarter on a three-minute scoring drought and allowed the Rockets to get as close as 11 before LeBron put back his own miss and Davis followed another LeBron miss the next time down the court, sparking what would become a 10-0 Lakers run. Houston went on another 21-4 run in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers still never let the Rockets trim the deficit to single digits.
That meant that the most drama on Spectrum SportsNet’s broadcast of Sunday’s game came when Robert Horry turned into Big Shock Bob and scared the life out of poor Allie Clifton:
The Lakers will face the Rockets at Staples Center again on Tuesday. Houston fans may be more focused on their trash-can-banging baseball team, which forced a sixth game in the World Series with a comeback against the Atlanta Braves earlier on Sunday.