The Rockets appear deeply shattered this season as the James Harden era heads to a potentially ugly conclusion.
Harden’s game (and driving off the field) have been questionable, and the parts around it are insufficient. In Tuesday’s 117-100 loss to the Lakers, Harden shot 5 for 16 from the field and 1 for 6 from beyond the arc. It’s his worst month in years.
Opponents now take turns celebrating all over Houston (3-6), a radical departure from the days when Harden dropped defenders to the ground and watched them before hitting shots. LeBron James and the Los Angeles bench had a blast sending the Rockets to their fourth loss in five games.
On a 3-point, James turned to face his bench before his corner attempt hit the bucket. When the ball fell through the net, his teammates chased him across the floor, laughing.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Lakers were the broken ones. At the time, former winger Nick Young tried to look away at 3 points but had the edge of the ball as his back faced the basket. The acquisition of James and Anthony Davis was certainly a path to improved fortune.
James finished Tuesday with a high of 26 points in 29 minutes. Davis contributed 10 rebounds and five blocks under his strong multiple line.