Steve Blake, Lakers Sharpshooters Exact Revenge on D12

There were many interesting stories leading up to tonight's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. Dwight Howard was facing his old team—the team he rejected in the offseason—for the first time. Kobe Bryant spoke to the media before the game of his long-awaited return from injury. 

That was before the game, though. By the time the final buzzer had sounded, the story of the game was the clutch shooting of the Lakers, particularly Steve Blake. With mere seconds left on the clock and the favored Rockets nursing a two-point lead, Blake sunk a dagger three from the corner, propelling the Lakers to an improbable 99-98 victory over Howard and the Rockets.


Lakers Live By the Three, Win By the Three

If somebody told you an NBA team won a game despite a 52-15 free-throw deficit, would you believe it? Well that was exactly what happened tonight.

How rare is it for a team to give up more than 50 free-throw attempts, while attempting 15 or fewer, and still win? According to Basketball Reference, it has happened only once before in NBA history—by the Lakers, coincidentally enough—in a 1994 win over the New Jersey Nets. 

As one might expect, the Lakers were only able to make up that free-throw deficit with a prolific performance behind the arc.  

  FTM FTA FT% 3PM 3PA 3P% Lakers 11 15 73.3% 16 35 45.7% Rockets 33 52 63.5% 7 27 25.9%  

Lakers shot chart: 

Rockets shot chart:


Hack-A-Dwight Pays Off

If you're going to foul an opponent 52 times, it helps if that opponent employs Dwight Howard. The Lakers sent both Howard and James Harden to the foul line 16 times apiece. In Harden's case, the move didn't pay off: He sunk 14 of 16 free throws and finished with 35 points. But when it came time to foul Howard, th...

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