(Photo: TNT video footage)
The energy was high at Staples Center as the sold out crowd filled the arena for the Lakers season opener. There were many reasons to be excited: It was the first look at a healthy Kobe Bryant since March of Last season and the first time he took the court against former teammate Dwight Howard since he shunned the Lakers before last season. That energy was quickly zapped shortly after tip-off as the Rockets took control of the game early and were never threatened, winning the season opener 108-90.
The Lakers were unable to keep James Harden out of the lane all night. Harden got the line 16 times, knocking down 15 of those attempts and finishing with a game high 32 points.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 19 points but on a poor shooting performance, hitting on just 6 of his 17 shot attempts.
Bryant-Howard Heated Exchange
The most interesting part of the night was the heated exchange between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in the 4th quarter after Howard swung his elbow to clear space after a rebound and outlet pass, nearly hitting Bryant on the chin and who took offense. Bryant got in Howard’s face but the two were separated before either got their hands on each other. After being separated Bryant continued to yell in Howard’s direction, appearing to shout “Try me.”
“He elbowed me in the face, and I’m gonna let him know, I don’t like that,” Bryant told reporters following the game.
“They don’t like each other, simple as that.” Stated Lakers head coach Byron Scott after the game when asked about the Bryant-Howard exchange.
Each player was assessed a foul and technical for their involvement.
Julius Randle breaks leg
Photo: Instagram, @bballequips
By far the worst part of the Lakers’ home opener was not the lopsided loss but seeing Julius Randle go down in the 4th quarter to what is being reported as a broken tibia. Randle fell to the floor in the 4th quarter and immediately grabbed his right leg and writhing in pain to the point of having to be consoled. Randle was carted off and the official extent of his injury won’t be learned until further examination is performed. Lakers officials stated they will provide an update to Randle’s injury on Wednesday.
Another former lottery pick of the Lakers provided some encouraging words for Randle on Twitter.
— James Worthy (@JamesWorthy42) October 29, 2014
The Lakers will play the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday and then return home on Friday to face the Los Angeles Clippers.
Fan Photos from the game: