The Houston Rockets had a clear game plan for overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers — attack Carmelo Anthony.
The strategy worked swimmingly for the Rockets, as they outscored the Lakers 19-10 in overtime to snag a 139-130 win. Houston rookie Jalen Green scored a game-high 32 points, a solid chunk of that coming in the extra time.
“Our game plan was just to attack Melo and find the mismatch on the floor,” Green said after the game. “So when it came down to it, we were looking for Melo and I was attacking him every time.”
The Lakers have dropped six of their last seven but the loss to the Western Conference’s last-place team in the Rockets stings a little extra.
“We kind of messed around with the game and they had confidence throughout the night,” Lakers guard Russell Westbrook said. “We gave up 32-, 36-point quarters [in the] first and second quarters, which is a lot of points. Guys made some shots. So now when [it is] guys [shooting who are] not normally making 3s or whatever it may be, they’ll make ’em.”
LeBron James Passes up Final Shot in Regulation
The statement from Green is a rough look for Anthony, although he has always been known more for his offensive skill set rather than his abilities on defense. However, he also missed the potential game-winning shot at regulation after getting a pass from LeBron James.
“Ended up behind the backboard,” James explained after the game. “I was a little bit off-balance and I could have forced a reverse layup, but I wasn’t in the position to feel like I could have got a great look. I could have got a decent look and I feel like Melo’s look was a lot better than mine.”
Like many others, Anthony thought that James was going to the basket before getting the final shot.
“I saw ‘Bron going to the basket. I just wanted to try and get in his eyesight,” he said. “I thought he had a layup, but after watching it, the replay on the bench, he was off-balance a little bit.”
Russell Westbrook Shines Against Rockets
It’s been a rough week for Westbrook but the former MVP shined against the Rockets, putting together one of his most complete games. He notched 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting to go with eight rebounds and six assists.
Westbrook talked openly this week about not wanting his family to attend home games due to the criticism he has received. His head coach Frank Vogel had his back prior to Thursday’s matchup.
“He’s an important player for us, he’s a part of our family,” Vogel told reporters. “And anytime a player is feeling that type of impact at home with his family, that is a big concern and should be handled with care. And I hope people can respect what he had to say postgame the other night, because it should never come to that.”
The Lakers slipped to 28-37 after the loss and there’s a real possibility they miss the postseason.