Christian Wood got the start in Davis’ absence and ended the night with zero points and four rebounds in 22 minutes in the defeat. LeBron James had a quiet night scoring 18 points in 27 minutes and Rui Hachimura made his return and had his best offensive showing of the season leading the Lakers in points with 24.
L.A. is now 3-5 on the season and will be looking for their first road win of the year against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Houston didn’t waste time jumping out to an 11-2 lead, quickly establishing dominance and control while Los Angeles struggled to get their offense going.
LeBron James did have a couple of fun moments in the opening frame, scoring on Dillon Brook, who claimed he was ‘ready to lock him up.’ The crowd seemed to enjoy the back and forth and even though it was a Rocket’s crowd, you could hear cheers when James scored.
Unfortunately, the Lakers first quarter struggles continued tonight as they trailed Houston 32-19 after one.
Rui Hachimura has been playing with good energy here, rolling and cutting. He's got 15.— Dan Woike (Click the pic ⬇️ to read) (@DanWoikeSports) November 9, 2023
Houston continued to dominate the paint, scoring 44 points in the first half alone. Minus James’ production and Hachimura’s return after missing four games due to safety protocols, not much good came from the short-handed Lakers.
At the half, L.A. was already down by 21.
In the third quarter both teams exchanged baskets which was just fine with Houston given their 20-plus point lead. D’Angelo Russell caught a rhythm from deep converting on a couple of downtown shots and scoring 15 points in the quarter, but the Lakers never posed a threat and at the 3:11 mark James was done for the night.
With James not touching the floor and the Lakers down by 28, the fourth quarter was garbage time. The Lakers end of the bench guys such as D’Moi Hodge and Maxwell Lewis got significant run as L.A. did everything but take a knee to run out the clock.
With Davis out, the Lakers had no chance. Houston’s Alperen Sengun lived in the paint and scored 19 points on 80% shooting.
Things won’t get easier for the Lakers as the Suns are waiting in the wings. Phoenix will likely have just one of their three stars available in Kevin Durant, but that might be enough, especially if Davis is out and the Lakers continue these poor performances.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.