Kobe Bryant #24 and Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers walk across the court during their game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on January 8, 2013 in Houston, Texas.
The Los Angeles Lakers played a good half of basketball. Unfortunately, it was the wrong half.
In the first half, Steve Nash ran the show using every available option to assist his way into the exclusive 10,000 assists club.
With the team shorthanded, Nash was aggressive from the onset and scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to accompany his five first half-assists. The Lakers led 62-59 at the break with Metta World Peace shooting well. However, the 59 points Houston tallied were far too high considering how well Los Angeles was playing in the early going.
In the third quarter, the Lakers went through a dry patch that lasted about two minutes, and the Rockets went on a 12-0 run. A one-point Lakers lead quickly transformed into an 11-point Lakers deficit.
Houston never let the Lakers back within arm’s reach.
Nash passed off five more assists in the second half, but he was 0-for-3 and was unable to get going. However, the Canadian point guard did his part in the first half to keep the Lakers in it.
During that tough stretch when the Lakers got cold and lost the game, they needed Kobe Bryant to make some shots, but he couldn’t. On a Tuesday night in Houston, he just didn’t have it. It happens to the best of them, and the proof is that it even happens to the great Kobe Bryant. Bryant score 14 points in the second half on 5-of-14 shooting.
On the night, he put in only 20 points on 8-for-22 shooting. With Metta World Peace pouring in 24 points and six Lakers in double figures, the points and shot attempts were well spread out.
Bryant worked hard to make the right play all night and finished with seven assists and five rebounds. However, his team needed him to shoot and score. Bryant only shot 36 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc. They needed Bryant to get to the free throw line more than twice in 48 minutes. He couldn’t do it.
It was a rare night this season when Kobe Bryant could not score the ball. It was not a rare night, unfortunately, on the defensive end. The Lakers allowed 125 points. Oh, what would Mike Brown have given to be able to score 112 points in a game?
Don’t blink because the Lakers are in San Antonio on Wednesday evening.
Note: Robert Sacre had a strong first half and showed great resolve. He finished with 10 points and four block shots, but he was only able to pull down three rounds.