The Houston Rockets used defense, 3-pointers, and James Harden to drown the top-seeded Lakers without the services of Russell Westbrook.
James Harden‘s 39-point outburst, with a combination of effective team defense and shooting, aided the Houston Rockets to bounce back from their self-afflicted loss to the Portland Trail Blazers and obliterate the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 113-97 Thursday night.
The Rockets were still without the services of swingman Eric Gordon and their other superstar guard Russell Westbrook missed the game due to quad contusions. The Lakers took the floor without superstar small forward LeBron James, who also missed the game due to lingering effects from his right groin.
The Houston Rockets led the Lakers 94-79 to begin the final quarter of the game. The Lakers, who struggled heavily on the offensive end, especially from beyond the arc, made a quick push by scoring 10 consecutive points right out of the gates to cut the double-digit lead down to five points with roughly eight minutes left in the game.
While the Lakers were scoring at will for the first time in the game, the Rockets were turning the ball over and seemingly giving the Lakers a free pass to get back into the game without any resistance.
Thankfully, Harden scored the first field goal of the quarter for the Rockets after nearly five minutes passed with the Rockets failing to find the bottom of the net. Afterward, the Rockets took Harden’s bucket and used it as fuel to propel themselves over a Lakers team who was starting to show their resilience.
The Rockets took the Lakers on an 11-0 scoring blast in a matter of minutes to bump the lead back up to 105-89. Harden, Robert Covington, and Austin Rivers all splashed in a deep ball apiece during the 11-0 run, which helped create separation from the Lakers with time dwindling.
Harden flirted with a triple-double during his efficient performance against the Lakers, scoring 39 points, ripping down eight rebounds, and dishing out 12 dimes. He also shot 11-for-19 from the field and 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
Ben McLemore and Daniel House Jr. combined for 36 points on 12-of-26 shooting from the floor while Jeff Green continued his consistent play on the offensive end, contributing 15 points and four rebounds for the Rockets in 27 minutes of play.
Here are three takeaways from the Rockets’ convincing and eye-opening victory over the LA Lakers.
Next: Offensive firepower