Lakers’ Playoff Chances Take a Hit After Loss to League-Worst Houston Rockets

Anthony Davis at Lakers Media Day in 2021
Anthony Davis at Lakers Media Day in 2021. Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock (12481887t)

The Los Angeles Lakers entered Wednesday’s game against the struggling Houston Rockets with a great chance to gain some ground in the crowded Western Conference playoff race. But they came out of it with a 114-110 loss and a serious hit to their postseason chances.

While the Lakers were short-handed against the Rockets, missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis, no one really expected Houston to put up much resistance. After all, this was a team that won just 18 games in 2022-23, tied with the Detroit Pistons for the fewest in the league. 

However, it was obvious from the very start that the Rockets didn’t get the memo. They outscored the Lakers 31-19 in the first quarter and then continued to keep their opponents at a distance for the remainder of the game. The LA team embarked on a few runs to cut into the lead but never got enough to get back all the way.

The Rockets were led by Kevin Porter Jr., who finished the game with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Jabari Smith Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr. added 18 points and 16 points, respectively. The Lakers, on the other hand, had Austin Reaves score 24 from the bench, while D’Angelo Russell had 18 points and seven assists.

Despite the win, their fourth in the last 10 games, Houston remains stuck at the bottom of the West standings. The Lakers are currently clinging to the last play-in spot at No. 10, having half a game lead on the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans.