Game 2 of the 2018/19 LA Lakers season was Saturday night, which is a little abnormal. Usually the Lakers make their home debut during the week, or on Sunday nights. The NBA & ESPN have been trying this “Saturday Night Premier” NBA games for a couple years now, so it makes total sense that the Lakers would be the first featured game. The opponent for the Lakers was the Houston Rockets, who were 0-1 at the time. The Rockets are a very tough opponent for anyone, let along the Lakers, who have a ton of new faces.
The game started with a fast pace, as expected with these two teams. The Lakers started Lebron, KCP, Ingram, Rondo, and McGee for the second straight game. Not much defense to start (this will be a theme). Kyle Kuzma came in and made an immediate impact yet again. He will be in the running for sixth man of the year if he keeps this up. To counter, Carmelo Anthony came in and hit a couple shots, including one to end the first quarter, and the Rockets led 31-28 after one. In the second, Lonzo Ball showed up, hitting a couple threes, and LeBron started to be more aggressive offensively, scoring seven points quarter, and attempting more shots. Still, CP3 and Harden kept scoring, and the Rockets led 66-62 at the half.
In the second half, the Rockets extended their lead to seven quickly, before a Lebron three cut into it. The lead for the Rockets stayed at around five or six until the 4:00 minute mark of the third. Brandon Ingram scored a couple of buckets to get the Lakers within one, and then a Lonzo three gave them the lead with 2:26. But CP3 answered with three buckets of his own, one of them a three, and the Rockets lead 98-97 with one quarter left. In the fourth, the Rockets jumped out to a six point lead before James Ennis clotheslined Josh Hart, who subsequently missed both free throws. Lonzo hits another three to cut the lead to three, but the Rockets, mainly James Harden, have answers constantly for everything the Lakers do. A Javale McGee alley-oop from Lonzo cuts the Rockets lead to one, before the mayhem.
With 4:13 left in the game, and the score at 109-108 (Rockets), James Harden gets “fouled” by Brandon Ingram as he drives to the paint. Harden and the Rockets claim it’s an “and-one”, and Ingram, visibly frustrated, shoves Harden to the side. They get separated by Lonzo, LeBron and Carmelo, while Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo huddle around the ref, trying to make a claim for their own team. Rondo and Cp3 start chatting and then …swings! Rondo throws a punch at CP3, and CP3 throws one back. Ingram runs back over to throw a punch at CP3, and then everyone gets separated. Eventually, CP3, Rondo and Ingram are all ejected (and have been suspended). See the video below for the full clip. After the brawl, there was still some game to be played. A one-point game. Harden makes both technical free throws, and gives the Rockets a three point lead. The Lakers never get closer, and lose 115-124, clearly deflated from the fight. James Harden scored 11 in the final quarter to help seal the deal for the Rockets, who now are 1-1. The Lakers lose back-to-back games, and are now 0-2, and face the Spurs tonight at Staples Center.
- Lonzo Ball scored 14 points, made 4/8 three pointers, had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and ZERO turnovers.
- Javale McGee scored 16 points, shot 7/11 from the field, and blocked 5 shots.
- Rajon Rondo had a double-double again, scoring 13 points, dropping 10 times and grabbing 7 rebounds.
- LeBron James led the team in scoring again, dropping 24 points, grabbing 5 boards and 5 assists. But Lebron only shot 9/22 from the field, and 1/7 from three. He only had 1 turnover, so nice job.
- KCP continues to struggle to start the year, scoring five points in 18 minutes, and shot 2/8 (0/3 from 3)
- Michael Beasley can’t even break the rotation at the moment.
- Suspensions have been handed out from the NBA:
- Brandon Ingram (4 Games)
- Rajon Rondo (3 Games)
- Chris Paul (2 Games)
- All Photos are from NBA.com
- Box Score
Thanks for Reading!