During the preseason, one of the talks in Los Angeles is how guard Jordan Clarkson will adjust to his bench role with the Lakers for the 2016-2017 NBA Season. In their season opening 120-114 win over the Houston Rockets, Clarkson proved he could adjust to playing as one of the leaders of the Lakers’ reserves.
The Filipino-American scored 25 points off the bench to lead the team shooting 8-of-12 field goals and added 3 steals.
The Lakers survived a great game from James Harden, whose role has also changed for the Rockets, by involving his teammates more this season. Houston’s franchise player had 34 points and 17 assists to prove that he can also play point guard for the team.
The Rockets appeared to be in control for most of the game. They led 71-63 at halftime in this high-scoring affair and 96-90 at the end of the third quarter. But the Lakers made a run mid-fourth, and tied the game at 100-all off free throws from Clarkson.
It was a close game throughout the final minutes with Clarkson hitting a three-pointer with 1:47 to go to give the Lakers a 116-112 lead. The Rockets couldn’t make stops and the Lakers pull off the upset at home in this Western Conference match-up.
Despite the surprising win, the Lakers are still not expected to battle for a postseason slot this season. But they have some positives to draw from in this season-opening win. Young guys D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle had 20 and 18 points, respectively while Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and 8 rebounds.
New Rockets players Eric Gordon (19 points) and Ryan Anderson (14 points) also had good games.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons