New Orleans, Louisiana (Sporting Alert) — The Los Angeles Lakers will want to quickly put the Tuesday night’s disappointing defeat to Houston Rockets behind them when they face the New Orleans Hornets tonight.
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: TWSN |
Lakers (8-10) blew a 17 point lead with a poor fourth quarter performance and fell 107-105 in Houston to open its three-game trip.
The Rockets used a vital team strategy to take players such as Kobe Bryant and Jamison, Antawn out of the game by fouling Dwight Howard early, as they knew he would struggle from the free throw line.
In the last five-minutes of the he was fouled five times and hit just 5-of-10 from the charity line – giving Houston the opportunity the claw back into the game.
There were suggestions from the pundits to leave Howard out of close games down the stretch, but he’s having now of it.
“People are going to say whatever they want to say, but at the end of the day, go back and look at the game,” Howard said.
“The reason we lost was not my free throws. That didn’t lose us the game. Our defense was not there in the fourth quarter.”
The Hornets (5-11) are expected to apply the same intentional strategy on the big center if needed, but know they need to do the work to get to that phase.
Lakers will again be without point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake, while Pau Gasol is also out of the contest.
New Orleans will be without top overall draft pick Anthony Davis, who remains out because of an ankle and despite the Lakers’ struggles, they don’t expect any favors.
“With the next two games, which are big ones, we have to go out there with the same energy and use it in a positive way,” rookie point guard Austin Rivers said.
The Hornets have split its last four games since happily ending a seven-game losing streak.
Monty Williams’s team is coming off a 102-81 home win over Milwaukee and seeks its first back-to-back wins won since early November. The injured Eric Gordon (sore right knee) is also out.
Kobe Bryant – (LAL) – 27.9, Dwight Howard – (LAL) – 18.6, Ryan Anderson – (NO) – 17.5, Anthony Davis – (NO) – 16.0
Greivis Vasquez – (NO) – 8.7, Kobe Bryant – (LAL) – 4.9, Steve Nash – (LAL) – 4.0, Pau Gasol – (LAL) – 3.5
Dwight Howard – (LAL) – 11.3, Pau Gasol – (LAL) – 8.8, Anthony Davis – (NO) – 8.3, Ryan Anderson – (NO) – 7.9