(Photo: @Lakers Twitter)
Wesley Johnson has not had many highlights this season for the Los Angeles Lakers but that changed on Wednesday night when he scored 5 points in the deciding final minute of the game which pushed the Lakers over the top to a narrow upset 98-92 victory over the Houson Rockets.
Following 2 made free throws by Johnson and the Lakers down 92-91 the Rockets inbound the ball to James Harden with 45 seconds to play. Harden is defended by Johnson at the 3 point line extended area and when he attempts his move Johnson pokes the ball loose and runs down the other end where he makes the layup and gets the foul call on Harden’s haphazard attempt to steal the ball back.
Johnson completes the 3-point play by making the free throw which puts the Lakers up 94-92. The Rockets are unable to score again and the Lakers put the game away with a pair of free throws each by Nick Young and Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers got a break as the Rockets were already without starting power forward Terrance Jones and prior to the game they learned they would also be without Dwight Howard due to a sprained knee.
The Lakers were led again by Kobe Bryant who scored 29 points on 10 for 28 from the field; Bryant also added 5 rebounds and a team high 7 assists.
Carlos Boozer was cold in the 2nd half and was taken out in the 4th quarter in favor of Johnson, which proved to be the right move by coach Byron Scott. Boozer still had a productive game overall, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Jordan Hill was solid again, scoring 16 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin struggled again against the tight defense of Patrick Beverley, scoring just 3 points on 1 for 5 from the field in 30 minutes. In his 2 games against Beverley and the Rockets Lin is averaging 5 points, 5 assists, 4.5 turnovers and shooting 20 percent from the field.
Nick Young had a 2nd great showing off the bench, scoring 16 points on the night. Bryant has goals specifically for Nick Young this season.
Kobe says his goal for Nick Young is to be "Sixth Man of the Year."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 20, 2014
Without Howard, James Harden took more of the scoring load, scoring 24 points and dishing out 7 assists.
The win puts the Lakers record at 3-9 and out of the cellar of the Western Conference which is now occupied by the 3-10 Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lakers will complete their 3 game road trip in Dallas where they’ll face the streaking Mavs on Friday. The Mavs are currently on a 5 game winning streak which is tied for the longest in the NBA as of Thursday.