12:01 AM ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — James Harden had 39 points and 12 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-97 victory on Thursday night over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were playing without LeBron James.
The Lakers, who clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Monday, didn’t have James because of a sore right groin.
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics.
The franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL). The new team began playing in Minneapolis, calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers. Initially a member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan’s retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Wilt Chamberlain, and won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s.
The 1980s Lakers were nicknamed “Showtime” due to their fast break-offense led by Magic Johnson. The team won five championships in a nine-year span, and contained Hall of Famers Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, and was led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson retired, the team struggled in the early 1990s, before acquiring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. With the duo, who were led by another Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the team won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second “three-peat”. The Lakers won two more championships in 2009 and 2010, but failed to regain their former glory in the following decade.
The Lakers hold the record for NBA’s longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season. Twenty-six Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four have coached the team. Four Lakers—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O’Neal, and Bryant—have won the NBA MVP Award for a total of eight awards.
Lakers vs. Rockets – Game Recap – August 6, 2020
A rocket (from Italian: rocchetto, lit. ‘bobbin’) is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle that obtains thrust from a rocket engine. Rocket engine exhaust is formed entirely from propellant carried within the rocket. Rocket engines work by action and reaction and push rockets forward simply by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed, and can therefore work in the vacuum of space.
In fact, rockets work more efficiently in space than in an atmosphere. Multistage rockets are capable of attaining escape velocity from Earth and therefore can achieve unlimited maximum altitude. Compared with airbreathing engines, rockets are lightweight and powerful and capable of generating large accelerations. To control their flight, rockets rely on momentum, airfoils, auxiliary reaction engines, gimballed thrust, momentum wheels, deflection of the exhaust stream, propellant flow, spin, or gravity.
Rockets for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th-century China. Significant scientific, interplanetary and industrial use did not occur until the 20th century, when rocketry was the enabling technology for the Space Age, including setting foot on the Earth’s moon. Rockets are now used for fireworks, weaponry, ejection seats, launch vehicles for artificial satellites, human spaceflight, and space exploration.
Chemical rockets are the most common type of high power rocket, typically creating a high speed exhaust by the combustion of fuel with an oxidizer. The stored propellant can be a simple pressurized gas or a single liquid fuel that disassociates in the presence of a catalyst (monopropellant), two liquids that spontaneously react on contact (hypergolic propellants), two liquids that must be ignited to react, (like kerosene (RP1) and liquid oxygen, used in most liquid-propellant rockets) a solid combination of fuel with oxidizer (solid fuel), or solid fuel with liquid or gaseous oxidizer (hybrid propellant system). Chemical rockets store a large amount of energy in an easily released form, and can be very dangerous. However, careful design, testing, construction and use minimizes risks.
The Rockets were also short-handed, missing Russell Westbrook because of a bruised right quadriceps. But the combination of Harden’s big game and Houston’s long-range shooting were enough to take care of the Lakers. The Rockets made 21 of 57 3’s while Los Angeles hit just 2 of 19.
The Lakers scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 94-89 with about eight minutes to go. Houston had three turnovers and didn’t score in the fourth until a layup by Harden with just more than seven minutes remaining to allow Los Angeles to make it close.
Lakers vs. Rockets – Game Recap – August 6, 2020
Houston coach Mike D’Antoni raved about the way Harden has been playing since the season restarted as the Rockets have gone 3-1.
“His commitment on defense is number one,” he said. “He stays locked in and is trying to win whatever it takes, accepting the double teams and trying to trying to bust it through to other guys. So there’s a lot of good things to marvel about.”
Harden’s layup jump-started Houston’s offense and was the start of an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 105-89 with five minutes remaining. Harden, Austin Rivers and Robert Covington each made a 3-pointer in that span.
“We’re playing pretty good,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of things especially defensively that we can correct but I think our energy … and pace has been good.”
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 21 points and Anthony Davis added 17 points with 12 rebounds.
“We did some things poorly at times, we did some things well at times,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “You learn from the tape and put it in the game plan for the next time you play these guys.”
A shot by Quinn Cook got the Lakers within 10 with midway through the third quarter. Houston scored the next seven points, with a 3 by Harden, to extend the lead to 86-69 about a minute later.
The Rockets used a 5-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from P.J. Tucker to make it 91-73 later in the third quarter. Los Angeles wrapped up the third with a 6-3 spurt to cut the deficit to 94-79 entering the fourth.
Harden said the Rockets are focused on improving on defense as the playoffs approach.
“Our energy, our effort and our aggressiveness defensively is something that we have to hang our hats on,” he said.
Lakers: Alex Caruso sat out with a sore neck. … Rajon Rondo (right thumb surgery) arrived in Florida on Wednesday and must test negative for the coronavirus seven straight times before entering the bubble. But it’s unclear when he’ll be able to begin practicing. … Dwight Howard had eight points and 15 rebounds after missing Wednesday’s game with a sore knee.
Rockets: G Eric Gordon, who has missed all four games in the bubble after spraining his left ankle in a scrimmage, has began shooting again after resting his ankle for several days. Coach Mike D’Antoni hopes Gordon will be able to play in at least one game before the playoffs begin on Aug. 17.
Lakers: Play Pacers on Saturday.
Rockets: Play Sacramento Sunday night.
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