Lakers feel impact of no Howard and Gasol

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James Harden and the Rockets had no problems scoring on the Lakers, sending the Lakers to their fourth straight loss on Tuesday night.

The Los Angeles Lakers were without half of their four marquee players on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, and it showed, especially on the defensive end, as they lost, 125-112.

The 125 points is one off the most the Lakers have allowed all season long. Rookie Robert Sacre got the start at center for the Lakers, as both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol were out with injuries. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Lakers haven’t won with a rookie center starting since April 1990, when Vlade Divac started in the middle.

Lakers Defense
Tuesday vs Rockets

The Rockets shot 55.2 percent from the field in Tuesday’s game, the highest field goal percentage the Lakers have allowed in a game this season.

The Lakers were especially unable to defend inside, as Houston made 25 field goals inside five feet and scored 60 points in the paint. The 60 points in the paint are tied for the second-most the Lakers have allowed in a game this season.

Especially effective inside the paint was James Harden. Harden went 9-for-12 for 18 points in the paint. The nine field goals inside the paint are tied for the most he’s had in a game this season. He went just 2-for-7 outside of the paint in the game.

In his first two games against the Lakers this season, Harden went 4-for-14 in the paint.

The Rockets were also effective in transition, scoring 29 points against 15 for the Lakers. Houston got out in transition on 20 percent of its overall plays, up from 14 percent in their first two games against the Lakers this season.

In fact, the Rockets made more transition field goals (11) than the Lakers even attempted (10) in the game.

The Lakers were struggling even before losing Howard and Gasol, as Tuesday’s loss was their fourth in a row, tied for their longest streak of the season.

Los Angeles dropped to 15-19 on the season, their worst 34-game start to a season since the 2002-03 season, when they started 14-20. The good news for Lakers fans is in that season, the Lakers went 36-12 over their last 48 games and made the playoffs.