Ballin': Devoid of Defense, Lakers Lose 5th Straight, Panic Sets In

Houston 125, LA Lakers 112: Without Gasol and Howard, it was a rough night for Robert Sacre, the former Gonzaga center. He got dunked on by Harden, and then let Harden (31 points) throw a pass between his legs for an assist. The Lakers lost their 5th straight because they played no defense. Houston shot 55 percent from the floor in winning its 5th straight; they’re 5.5 games ahead of LA in the Western Conference playoff picture. Steve Nash recorded his 10,000th assist, making him 5th all-time. He’ll pass Magic (10,141) later this season.

Minnesota 108, Atlanta 103: How weak is the East this year? Atlanta is 3rd in the East (20-13). Boston can’t get going, Philly still doesn’t have Bynum, the Nets have fired their coach, and the Bulls don’t have Derrick Rose yet. Love this stat line from Ricky Rubio: 18 minutes, zero shot attempts, eight assists, four steals.

Milwaukee 108, Phoenix 99: How about 3:20 worth of Larry Sanders highlights? Wait for the nasty dunk at 2:11. The former VCU stringbean scored 10 points and blocked six shots. He’s No. 1 in the NBA in blocked shots (3.2). Phoenix is 12-24.

Indiana 87, Miami 77: Sick handle, Paul George (29 points on 27 shots). How about the Pacers? They were supposed to go in the tank without Danny Granger, but everyone else’s struggles have helped Indiana to a 21-14 record, first place in the Central, and tied for 3rd in the East. There are more than 40 games left in the season, but that’s quite a coaching job so far by Frank Vogel. Also, Gerald Green got his head at or above the rim on this block.

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