The Los Angeles Lakers were defeated 108-90 in the opening night of the 2014-2015 NBA season.
James Harden scored a game high 32 points, while Kobe Bryant led his squad with 19 points in 29 minutes. Dwight Howard cleared the air before the game about not leaving for Houston because of Kobe Bryant, only to let a third-quarter elbow to his former teammates jaw spark up new intrigue in the rivalry.
Inside The Numbers
Houston only shot 42% from the field, the problem is the Lakers shot an abysmal 35%.
The Rockets outscored them 36 to 9 from the arc, and James Harden scored 15 points at the charity stripe.
Don’t think the Lakers are missing Nick Young? They only attempted a total of 10 three-point shots. Young is not bashful, and will surely increase the number of attempts from downtown upon his return.
Jordan Hill cannot go 2-7 as the Lakers starting center. Most of those misses were at point blank range, and although he had a double-digit rebounding game, his inefficiency on the offensive end didn’t keep Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard busy long enough on defense.
Ed Davis had an economical 11 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of play. With rookie Julius Randle out, look for Davis to fulfill the first big man off the bench role.
The last days of Shaquille O’Neal included some classic public quarreling that The Big Aristotle was known for. Most of the drama was simply Shaq being a shameless self-promoter mixed with the media salivating for a story.
Enter Dwight Howard, who was now parading around the Orlando calling himself Superman. Not only was Howard copying Shaq’s nickname, but he seemed to be emulating his ‘Maybe I’m Too Big For The Orlando Maigc’ style prior to his pending free agency. Shaq set the record straight in a Sports Illustrated interview:
Doesn’t bother me. I can’t be impressed by something I invented in ’92. I mean, you look at what he is doing, I’ve been there and done that. Every street he is driving down in Orlando, I have been on that street. Every nightclub, every restaurant. … I have been there and done that. Until he wins three, four championships, then we can talk about him. But right now, he is just like every other big guy: ‘You can run and jump, but you haven’t won yet.
A recent story quoting numerous anonymous sources painted Kobe Bryant as a pariah who has ex-communicated the Lakers organization due to his nefarious reputation. Dwight Howard has since come out and denied that Bryant was a deterrent in him returning to Los Angeles.
During the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend, Kobe and Shaq were set to meet for dinner. Dwight Howard caught up with Bryant and was sure to explain to him that he had no beef with Shaq. Bryant, widely thought as an O’Neal nemesis, assured Howard that he’d talk to O’Neal on his behalf.
That’s right- Kobe played peacemaker between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.