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The Houston Rockets entered Wednesday night with the NBA’s second-worst record, having won just one of their last 14 games, but with the scuffling Lakers coming to town, the young Rockets saw an opportunity to make a bit of a name for themselves and pounced, beating L.A. 139-130 in overtime — causing James Worthy to call it “a new low” for the Lakers, which is quite the bar to clear this season.
That overtime period featured a 10-0 run to open things up by the Rockets, led by Jalen Green who finished with 32 points in one of his best games as a rookie.
Y'all gotta see this OT run pic.twitter.com/TcGWHTZePK
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 10, 2022
After the game, Green was interviewed on the Rockets broadcast and asked about how the Rockets approached that overtime that allowed them to jump on the Lakers and take control, to which he divulged their fairly simple game plan: “Attack Melo. Put him in isolation.”
Jalen Green on Rockets closing stretch: "The game plan was to attack Melo. Put him in isolation." pic.twitter.com/sZ3yhtgGw5
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) March 10, 2022
As you can see in the highlight cutup the Rockets posted above, the Rockets certainly followed that game plan for much of the period, trying to put the veteran forward in as many actions as possible. Carmelo was far from the only Laker to have a rough defensive game, as evidenced by allowing 139 points to the Rockets, but it’s part of the conundrum for the Lakers coaching staff as to how they put together lineups when so many of their best offensive players are defensive liabilities, while their best defenders collapse the spacing for LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
On this night, they rolled with an offensive lineup in overtime and the Rockets simply out-gunned them, with Green giving us a rare, somewhat painfully honest quote about Houston’s target when the Lakers were on defense.