When a young rebuilding team goes up against a team that is supposed to contend for an NBA Championship, many expect the latter to pick up the victory. Sometimes, that is not the case. The Los Angeles Lakers secured a surprising victory over the Houston Rockets, as reported by ESPN.
Last season, everything about the Los Angeles Lakers centered around Kobe Bryant, the legendary guard that has spent two decades in the NBA. He announced that he was retiring from the league, so fans across the United States made it a point to witness a legend for the final time in his career.
Now that Kobe Bryant is gone, the Los Angeles Lakers are all about building up the younger players so that they can try to get back to the glory days of winning and competing for the NBA Championship. There’s a long road ahead, and this year was expected to be a rough one.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 27, 2016
Kobe Bryant loved to play isolation basketball. It is hard to blame him because very few guys in the NBA were capable of stopping him in that situation. With Bryant gone, the Los Angeles Lakers are now trying to play an uptempo scheme that involves more ball movement.
When it comes to uptempo basketball, very few people are as gifted in the scheme as Mike D’Antoni, who is in his first season as the head coach of the Houston Rockets. The Los Angeles Lakers managed to keep up with the speed of play by James Harden and the Rockets.
One of the big stories coming into the NBA season is the fact that Mike D’Antoni has decided to think outside of the box by moving James Harden to the point guard position. Harden had an amazing 17 assists during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, but he also had seven turnovers.
Overall, James Harden had a game that was worthy of an MVP candidate. In addition to the 17 assists, he also had 34 points and eight rebounds. Harden made it to the free throw line 16 times, and he converted 15 of those shots. The numbers would have been higher had his three-point shooting been better.
Over the summer, the Houston Rockets spent a good amount of money on acquiring Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson from the New Orleans Pelicans during free agency. The two of them combined for 33 points and 11 rebounds. Their three-point shooting, which was key to their signings, were sub-par, though.
It’s way too early to tell, but based on the first game, Clint Capela looks like a suitable replacement for Dwight Howard, who left the Houston Rockets in free agency to sign with the Atlanta Hawks this summer. Capela scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, Julius Randle showed some of the potential that had many NBA analysts comparing him to the ultra-versatile Lamar Odom. Randle had 18 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. He only missed two of the 11 shots that he took against the Houston Rockets.
Despite signing a $50 million contract, Jordan Clarkson was asked to accept a bench role behind Nick Young, who has been rumored to be on the way out with the Los Angeles Lakers. Clarkson proved his worth by providing 25 points off the bench. The combo guard also made all seven of his free throw attempts.
Very few people believed that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to be able to compete with the Houston Rockets, as the latter is considered one of the best teams in a loaded Western Conference. However, the Lakers proved that games are played on the basketball court and not on paper.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]