HOUSTON – Another Houston Rockets road loss. At this point, it's beginning to look comical. An 8-9 overall record without a win on the road continues to spell more trouble with coach Ime Udoka's squad.

Initially, it didn't appear as such. The Rockets led as many as nine points against the Los Angeles Lakers with a strong first quarter, looking to write their wrongs early on. But that was mainly all she wrote. Houston got outscored 35-14 in the second, which turned into a deficit they were unable to overcome.

This road loss was their most disappointing yet. Costly turnovers, poor interior defense, shot selection, and various technical fouls illustrated the main source of concern. One of the more uneventful highlights included Udoka's feud with Lakers' forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter.

After various exchanged wordings between the two following a Rockets possession, the official who was in between issued double techs to each of them, ejecting Udoka from the game.

But how did it get to this moment? Let's go back to the beginning.

Prior to the LeBron-Udoka spat, things were already getting chippy. In the second quarter, forward Dillon Brooks received a technical after committing a personal foul on Austin Reaves. Later in the quarter Udoka received a technical on arguing with the official on a couple tough foul calls on the Rockets, such as Brooks' third personal and a questionable foul call on Jabari Smith Jr., which initially looked like a clean block on Anthony Davis.

These bang-bang calls sparked a Lakers 14-2 run, highlighted by a stunning 360 layup from a seemingly ageless, 39-year-old LeBron over Tari Eason and Jeff Green. The surge gave the Lakers a commanding 60-44 lead by halftime.

In the fourth quarter, tensions escalated. The Rockets trailed by 15 when following a possession. After a shooting foul, Cam Reddish seemed to deliberately bump into Tari Eason. Eason took exception to it, looking ready to confront Reddish, but was restrained by Alperen Sengun.

Reddish's actions earned him a technical, leading to Fred VanVleet taking the free throw. While this was happening, LeBron and Udoka exchanged words. On the surface, it appeared to be civil. According to the official, this exchange was believed to be a lot more taunting instead of a friendly conversation about their Thanksgiving holiday.


Shortly after, the official who was in between the verbal altercation gave them both technical fouls. This was Udoka's second in the game, leading to his ejection.

During the postgame, when asked about the verbal exchange, each of them had contrasting answers.

“Uh, Thanksgiving,” LeBron said. “How much we enjoyed Thanksgiving.”

“We had some conversation,” Udoka added. “[the refs] They didn't like what they heard.”

Udoka was asked about the specifics of the conversation, namely asking if the conversation centered around LeBron by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Rockets head coach responded in a potentially dismissive tone towards the all-time leading scorer.

“Me and the player, yes,

This small altercation, topped with shady responses at the postgame, was not all. Right after the game concluded, Eason was seen itching to continue what was halted from the exchange between him and Reddish.

Udoka's Ejection Should Fuel Rockets 

LeBron James and Ime Udoka with fire in their eyes

Say what you want about the Rockets road woes, but it's not meant to last forever. It's true that they are completely past due to win a game away from the Toyota Center. The tenacity from Udoka taunting an all-time great that led to an ejection may look disappointing on the surface, but it should inject fire into the way they've been playing road games in the long run.

“Inconsistency's been our biggest thing,” Udoka said. “We won six in a row. We lost three in a row a few times and that's a sign of inconsistency. You can't rattle off that many in a row and then lose that many…We've beaten quality teams this year so far. Don't look at it any different as far as the opponent. Tonight was the total opposite of what we've been and what we've done to get to where we're at.”

Houston doesn't play their next game until Wednesday, December 6th. Their opponents? The Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that's been nothing short of sensational this season, sitting at the 2nd seed with a 13-6 record.

While the Rockets will be on their home court, any win, regardless of where they play, is a win, and taking momentum of these home wins on the road is crucial to eradicate their struggling road development.