A bad first half from the Los Angeles Lakers meant Kobe Bryant didn’t make the impact he wanted against Dwight Howard, and the same goes for Jeremy Lin facing James Harden and the Houston Rockets, with the visitors walking away with a comfortable and dominant 108-90 victory.
The Lakers fell behind by 17 points by the end of the first half and never played enough to really make it seem like they have a shot of forcing a closer game. James Harden scored 32 points to lead both teams, going to the line easily and often, making 15-of-16 free throws. His tendency to hog the ball hasn’t disappeared, but against the no defense the Lakers put on the floor, it didn’t really matter how he played while the clock was ticking.
Bryant dreamed of a different debut to this season. His arrogance off the floor, disregarding any attempt to discredit him and his influence on the decline of the Lakers, seems even more foolish considering how badly he and his teammates played. Bryant led the Lakers with 19 points but shot only 6-of-17 from the field. The Lakers were at their worst early on before it turned into one big garbage time spectacle, except for the expected dirty moment between Howard and Bryant.
With Kobe Bryant trying to bother Howard after the center grabbed a rebound, it looked like Howard intentionally elbowed Bryant in the face. A flagrant foul was called and the two traded words and almost came to trading fists. Howard said some words, Bryant called him soft, letting his frustration and hatred towards a player he never got along with flow through him. It didn’t help him once the final buzzer was heard.
Lin had a bad game, finishing with 7 points on 1-of-5 from the field. Once again, it’s not telling the whole story. He did finish with six assists, and suddenly playing in the starting lineup with players he didn’t spend a lot of minutes with during the preseason. Bryant didn’t exactly make it easy for Lin in terms of playing like a point guard. This wasn’t nearly as good as Lin could get, but once again in his strange career, the circumstances weren’t in favor of him.
Julius Randle broke his leg and might be out for almost the entire season after scoring just two points in his debut. With Ronnie Price as the point guard next to him. The Lakers already have a few injuries bugging them and dragging them down. It was another low point in a disappointing, not to mention slightly humiliating opening night for the Lakers, not getting too many points of optimism to build on from their first performance.