Injury-plagued Lakers are routed by the Rockets, 134-95: The Houston Rockets’ dazzling transition game never relented Wednesday night, even as they led by more than 30 points late in the fourth quarter. Early and late, the Rockets’ flashy game did in the injury-riddled Lakers, who were routed, 134-95, at Toyota Center. It was the Lakers’ fourth consecutive loss and their third loss of the season by 30 or more points. -- Los Angeles Times
Lakers' Nick Young says his right calf strain is feeling better: While Nick Young was initially going to stay home during the Lakers’ one-game jaunt to Houston, he made the trip to rehabilitate on the road. “Feeling better,” the Lakers starting shooting guard said. -- Los Angeles Times
Luke Walton upset Lakers 'weren't ready to fight' in 134-95 loss to Rockets: The irritated tone in Coach Luke Walton’s voice sounded louder with each word he spoke. The Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets, 134-95, on Wednesday night at Toyota Center, one of their worst defensive performances of the season resulting in their fourth consecutive loss. -- The Orange County Register
Luke Walton searching for right combinations to spark Lakers' short-handed roster: When Lakers coach Luke Walton and his staff meet before every game to finalize offensive sets and defensive schemes, they often tackle another question. Who do we start? Finding themselves without D’Angelo Russell (left knee), Nick Young (right leg) and Jose Calderon (right hamstring) in recent weeks, those conversations have become more difficult. -- The Orange County Register
Lakers' Nick Young relied on Mike D'Antoni's support during tough times: Through shooting slumps, diminished roles and public criticisms the previous two years, Lakers guard Nick Young relied on a key person for comfort. After clashing with former Lakers coach Byron Scott and annoying Kobe Bryant, Young turned to someone Scott and Bryant had criticized. -- The Orange County Register
James Harden added 25 points in three quarters for the Rockets. They scored a season high and extended their winning streak to a season-best four games.
The Rockets were up by 12 in the third quarter, then had a 22-6 run to make it 96-68 and put the game out of reach with about 3 minutes left in the quarter. Houston made four 3-pointers and got a nifty one-handed dunk from Clint Capela in that run to pad the lead.
Gordon already had four 3-pointers seven minutes into the first quarter after making each of his first four attempts. It was his seventh straight game with at least four 3-pointers, which is a franchise record.
Houston's winning streak is its longest since taking five straight in January.
Lou Williams led the Lakers with 24 points. They have lost four in a row, their longest skid of the season.
Lakers assistant Brian Keefe helps school young pros, and Kevin Durant sings his praises: Before each game they worked together on the court, reaching for the same goal. A skinny 6-foot-9 forward — a teenager who was a second overall pick — and a coach tasked with his development. The player was given a schedule to create a routine so he could learn habits that would stay with him throughout his career. That’s the story of Lakers assistant Brian Keefe and Brandon Ingram. It’s also the story of then-SuperSonics/Thunder assistant Brian Keefe and Kevin Durant. -- Los Angeles Times
D'Angelo Russell will start on-court activities but won't travel to Houston with Lakers: Luke Walton’s rotation, which has grown more confusing as the Lakers’ injuries have piled up, might be easier to solve when the Lakers face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. But not because his team is getting healthier. The Lakers will take only 11 players on the one-day trip and forward Larry Nance Jr. remains questionable with a knee contusion. -- Los Angeles Times
Lakers resemble walking wounded on way to Houston: The body count in their training room keeps increasing, and the Lakers received some clarity Tuesday regarding how that group is progressing. Short answer: The Lakers (10-13) will still enter Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets (14-7) at Toyota Center with a diminished roster. After seeing team doctors Tuesday morning, Lakers starting guard D’Angelo Russell received clearance to participate in on-court drills after nursing a sore left knee for the last two weeks. -- The Orange County Register
Lou Williams' 38 points not enough against Jazz as Lakers fall 107-101: Before facing an opponent that pushed the Lakers around the last time they met, and with the team now essentially down four key players, Metta World Peace addressed his teammates with a message. He told them it didn’t matter that so many Lakers were injured, that they could still win games despite their low numbers. They came close Monday night, but lost to the Utah Jazz, 107-101. -- Los Angeles Times
Lakers summon rookie center Ivica Zubac from Development League: Depleted by injuries, the Lakers called up rookie Ivica Zubac, a second-round draft pick, from his Development League assignment Monday. Zubac averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in six games with the D-Fenders, getting playing time and experience he wouldn’t have had with the Lakers. -- Los Angeles Times
Lou Williams' big night not enough in Lakers' 107-101 loss to Jazz: The day started with the Lakers learning their backcourt depth suffered another serious dent and ended with them losing a key piece to their frontcourt. In between, the Lakers suffered a 107-101 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday at Staples Center and their third consecutive defeat as they struggled to apply patchwork to a ripped-up quilt. -- The Orange County Register
Lakers aren't using injuries as an excuse, but they're taking a toll: They all say they don’t use injuries as a crutch. Luke Walton walked into his postgame locker room Monday night and saw yet another Laker using a crutch for an injury. “I’m pretty sure he won’t be playing tomorrow night,” Walton said of backup center Tarik Black, who sprained his ankle in the third quarter. -- The Orange County Register
Luke Walton's unconventional Lakers lineup didn't work against Jazz, but it was progressive thinking: When Luke Walton arrived at the arena on Monday night, he had narrowed to two his options for patching together a lineup ravaged by injuries. One choice had him moving Jordan Clarkson into the starting backcourt, but that would have meant breaking up the Lakers NBA-best bench. The second option was less obvious but offered some hope defensively against the Utah Jazz. It called for starting a 37-year-old Metta World Peace along with Luol Deng and Brandon Ingram, along with Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov. -- The Orange County Register
Lakers' Metta World Peace tells teammates 'not to be entitled': The Lakers’ frustration mounted through losses, missed calls and debilitating injuries. Fatigue settled in as the Lakers completed a four-game trip in five days that included two sets of back-to-backs. Mindful those variables factored into their recent struggles, veteran forward Metta World Peace addressed the team at shootaround before Monday’s game against Utah at Staples Center. -- The Orange County Register
Thomas Robinson still living his 'dream' while searching for bigger role: Someone was asking Thomas Robinson about the way he helps the young Lakers. Thomas Robinson is 25 years old. “Most people think I’m at least three years older,” he said. “Most people think I’m 28 or 30.” In NBA mileage, he might be. He was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA draft after three years at Kansas. The Lakers are his sixth place of NBA residence in that time. -- The Orange County Register
LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 23 points and the Utah Jazz overcame the absence of ill coach Quin Snyder for their sixth victory in seven games, 107-101 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.
Lou Williams had 38 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who rallied in the fourth quarter and nearly stole a victory despite finishing their eighth loss in 11 games without five injured regulars.
Rodney Hood scored 16 points and hit two difficult shots in the waning minutes to keep the Jazz on track to win their only road game in a nine-game stretch.
Veteran assistant Igor Kokoskov ran the Jazz for Snyder, who fell ill earlier in the day and decided he couldn't coach shortly before game time.
Magic Johnson watches NBA games every day, amazed by the way Russell Westbrook is compiling triple-doubles even faster than he could.
Now Johnson is ready to start talking about it on the air again.
The Hall of Famer is returning to ESPN as analyst to work on the network's NBA Countdown studio show, ESPN announced Monday.
Johnson will debut on the pregame studio show for ABC's Christmas coverage and then join Michael Wilbon, who is also making his return to the show, and Sage Steele on the Saturday night team, beginning Jan. 21.
"I'm so excited to be working with my ESPN family again on NBA Countdown Saturday nights," Johnson said in a statement released by ESPN. "Michael, Sage and I are going to have a lot of fun this season while we cover the greatest sport in the world. Basketball has been so good to me, and I can't wait to once again share my love and passion for the game with the fans and my ESPN colleagues."
Johnson worked for ESPN as a studio analyst from 2008-13 and said getting to work again with Wilbon was one of the reasons for his return, along with the chance to work the limited nine-game Saturday schedule. He was previously doing 60 or more nights, which was too much with his other businesses, he said.
"If it had been a full schedule like I did before, 60-something games, it never would have worked out," Johnson said. "I wouldn't have come back."
Lakers' recent trip leaves team fatigued: The mere mention of the Lakers’ upcoming itinerary made Lou Williams shake his head. The Lakers just concluded a four-game trip in five days that included stops in New Orleans, Chicago, Toronto and Memphis. The Lakers (10-12) will then resume their schedule on Monday against the Utah Jazz (12-9) at Staples Center. The Lakers then play in Houston on Wednesday before returning to Los Angeles for home games against Phoenix (Friday) and New York (Sunday). -- The Orange County Register
Calderon out as Lakers' guard woes continue: The Lakers will lack yet another guard on Monday against the Utah Jazz. Jose Calderon was declared out for the game after straining his right hamstring on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Calderon is the third Lakers guard to suffer an injury that will result in missed games. -- Los Angeles Times