(The Sports Xchange) - Guard James Harden had 25 points, six rebounds and six assists, leading the Houston Rockets to a 107-87 romp over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Thursday.
Center Dwight Howard scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds despite experiencing foul trouble throughout the contest.
Forward Terrence Jones had 16 points and forward Trevor Ariza and guard Patrick Beverley chipped in 13 apiece as the Rockets (13-14) ended a two-game slide. They also defeated Los Angeles for the fifth consecutive time at Staples.
Forward Kobe Bryant scored 22 points and had eight rebounds for the Lakers (4-22), who lost seven of their last eight. Forward Julius Randle had 18 points and 10 boards, while guard Lou Williams contributed 14 points.
Randle’s layup pulled Los Angeles within 81-76 less than three minutes into the fourth quarter but an 11-0 run by Houston gave the visitors a 16-point lead. The Lakers never recovered.
The Lakers resorted to intentionally fouling Howard with 5:21 left in the contest but the center converted seven-of-12 free throws.
The Rockets led 52-39 at the break. They limited the Lakers to 34.8 percent shooting while hitting 40.9 percent of their shots.
Houston also had the edge in three-pointers, making six-of-12 attempts (50 percent) to three-of-12 (25 percent) for the Lakers.
Overall, the Lakers out-shot the Rockets 42.9 percent to 38.6 percent.
Bryant provided some crowd-pleasing moments in the third quarter. He had Laker fans roaring and on their feet after he drove the lane and slammed a dunk over forward Clint Capela.
He followed with a baseline jumper to cut the Rockets’ advantage 55-48 at 8:49 of the third.
Bryant scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the quarter but the Rockets took a 78-68 lead heading into the final frame.
It was Houston’s second win over the Lakers within the past five days. The Rockets coasted to a 126-97 rout on Dec. 12.
Editing by John O'Brien