As I watched the Houston Rockets cut through the Los Angeles Lakers like a chainsaw through a stuffed animal during the third quarter of Tuesday night's matchup, I found myself wondering: If I was a Laker fan, how would I describe this? Like, if I had to conjure up an image to describe how it feels to be a Lakers fan watching James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Carlos Delfino and Patrick Patterson just disregard my team's defense and score on 11 consecutive trips over the final five-plus minutes of the frame, which one would I pick?
Let's see that again in slow motion:
Kudos to the Rockets employee/local improv performer who rocked the Kobe Bryant jersey in this bit, because that's some commitment, dude. The game ops crew might want to talk to Clutch about pulling his punches a bit. Yeesh.
All told, the Rockets hung 38 points on the Lakers in the third quarter, erasing L.A.'s three-point halftime lead and taking a nine-point advantage of their own into the fourth. From there, it was all over but the shouting, as Houston scored a 125-112 win over a Lakers team that played small throughout due to the absence of injured big men Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, and couldn't consistently (or even sporadically) get stops to turn the tide.
Harden led the way with a game-high 31 points on 11 for 19 shooting, nine assists and six rebounds, while Lin (19 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals), Parsons (20 points on 8 for 13 shooting, five rebounds, three assists) and Delfino (19 points, 5 for 7 from 3-point range off the bench) each chipped in en route to blazing team shooting marks (55.7 percent from the floor, 44 percent from 3-point range) and Houston's eighth game of 120-plus points this season. They're 7-1 in those contests and 21-14 in all, holding a five-game winning streak and sitting sixth in the Western Conference.
Six Lakers scored in double-figures in the loss, led by Metta World Peace's 24 points, six rebounds and four steals. But Kobe Bryant shot poorly (20 points on 8 for 22 shooting), L.A.'s jumper-heavy attack created just 13 free throws and very little went right for the Lakers after the first five minutes, when they raced out to an 18-4 lead.
The lone bright spot was Steve Nash (16 points, 10 dimes, five rebounds) joining the exclusive 10,000-assist club; unfortunately, the Lakers seem to have misplaced the cake Mike D'Antoni made for the postgame celebration of the achievement. Give us a head's up if you find it, OK?