The Lakers' porous defense was no match for the Rockets, as James Harden, Dwight Howard and company were able to manhandle the Lakers on their home court, proving that this injury-riddled team has completely lost its edge and has very little left to cling to for the remainder of this lost season.
The Lakers crowd expended plenty of effort making sure Howard knew how the City of Angles felt about him, but the on-court product lacked any of the venom and vitriol of a proper grudge match.
The Howard storyline was edged to the margins somewhat before the game as news broke that the Lakers had traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Y! Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers trade guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors. http://t.co/ddMbY2ZV5W— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
The Lakers played like they expected nothing but bad news all night long.
Harden finished with 29 points and was the obvious star of the show, but explaining his continued assault on the league's perimeter defenses can be a bit redundant after a while.
He makes the spectacular routine, and there were plenty of other notable takeaways from this grudge match that ended up decidedly one-sided.