James Harden scored undeniably humongous. 51 points is too distant from usual. What's even more unusual is that it was insufficient to earn Rockets another victory.
It is just one of the many awful facts behind this shocking loss. In fact, it is quite obvious. Now, let us take a look at its implications behind the curtains.
1. Within Warriors' striking distance
One more downfall and the Warriors might take them out of their sweet top spot. Same with Celtics' situation, the Rockets want absolute dominance on the west to retain their threatening form until as long as they could.
Every single defeat of the Rockets let the Warriors come closer and closer.
2. No Capela, fatal for Rockets
Without a huge shadow on the shaded area, Lakers took advantage of the great hole's vulnerability. Clint Capela being the sole center of Rockets and not being able to play let Rockets' defense weaken significantly. Lakers dished out 27 assists while Rockets with only 19. Rockets may have won if the battle is a shootout alone but it's their incomplete defense that pulled them down into the pit.
3. The Trade-off between 51 points and turnovers
James Harden shot well but there can never be some gain without any pain. So what cost the 51 points? Turnovers. Once somebody holds the ball too much, they may tend to score high and turn the ball over many times. Rockets had 15 turnovers and 6 of them coming from Harden alone.
But still, Rockets only let Lakers score 17 off turnovers in contrast to them with 25 turnover points. But what hurt them? Basket in transition. 20 fastbreak points versus 6 for the rockets. They may not have the center Clint Capela which means a smaller and faster lineup yet a fast squad won't be enough to cover a huge open hole in transition defense.