Anthony Davis defends against the Houston Rockets on 1/12/21.

Lakers Played Out-of-This-World vs. Rockets

by Taylor Geas

In a rematch against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers resembled that of the 1980s Showtime teams as they went on to defeat one of the Lone Star State's basketball teams, 117-100. Honestly, the final score was no indication of the game.

A mere two days ago, these teams faced each other in a contest that resulted in the Lakers' eighth win. After a 120-102 victory, there was speculation that the same tenacity could not be possible from the Purple and Gold, but that conjecture proved to be mistaken. At exactly 10:08 in the second quarter, the Lakers were up 41-19. But their biggest lead came with 2:10 left in the third at 95-65.

At the start of the season, the Lakers defense was that of a team that had a couple of adjustments to address, but tonight they wrote the book on how to stay locked. The Lake Show had 12 blk, 10 stl, and 51 reb as a whole. Spectrum SportsNet commentator Stu Lantz said it best, "The Lakers are making life miserable for the Rockets around the rim." The Lakers held Houston to 39% from the field. In conclusion, the defense was a full-fledged unit.

Alright so, the Lakers are now 6-0 on the road. And as mentioned earlier, the last time the team had a start like this was the Showtime Lakers' 1985-86 team. If comparisons are being made to the run-n-gun Showtime Lakers then let's just come out and say it, LeBron James (26 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast) was that of a modern-day Magic Johnson with his magnetic presence, all-around maestro style, and expert vision. And Anthony Davis (19 pts, 10 reb, 5 blk) mimicked a 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his graceful handles and the top spot on the game's stat line in blocks and steals.

Let's start with LeBron. Tonight, his feature presentation included turnarounds, baseline jumpers, taking it to the corner, and of course the celebrated, no-look corner 3. When asked postgame what the details were of the kitschy play, the King explained, "My teammate [Dennis Schröder] hit me with a bet on the sideline ... and a bet is not a bet unless you look a man in the eye."

There were six Lakers in double-digit points tonight, one more member than Sunday's game. The Lakers scored 49 fast-break points in total in Houston, Texas.

The score disparity had more to do with the defense though, and the man in charge of that was AD. As the Lakers' defensive leader and since calling for a higher caliber performance after the Lakers suffered a loss at the hands of the Spurs, the Brow has shown out on D big time when it comes to protecting the rim. He identified a shortcoming and paved the way for his teammates to follow. While he went 7-for-8 from the field, the big guy slammed the door on the opposition in their zone.

Now back to the LBJ, no-look corner 3. Dennis Schröder's side of the story was this, "I bet a Benjamin on it, and he [LeBron] replied 'bet.'" Dennis, LeBron, and AD were 3 of 6 offensive threats. The rest included: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (14 pts), Montrezl Harrell (14 pts), and Kyle Kuzma (11 pts, 11 reb).

There were a lot of exceptional moments in tonight's game, but best of all had to be the team sentiments after the game. Just like last year, this team is special. "I love my teammates, man," LeBron said in his postgame press conference. Followed by Dennis saying, "Everybody, when they wake up, they like to come to work."

This game was fun tonight; fun to watch, looked like fun to play, and it was fun to be a part of. Coach Frank Vogel spoke to the team's energy saying, "One of our most important goals is to build that chemistry." The team now stands at 9-3, the best record in the league for the start of the season. They take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow.

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