CP3 leads Rockets past Lakers 105-99 for 31st win in 34
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 11, 2018 01:01 PM
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, left, passes the ball as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
By Greg Beacham, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul scored 22 points, James Harden had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Houston Rockets kept steamrolling toward the playoffs with their 31st victory in 34 games, 105-99 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).
Gerald Green scored 16 points as Houston hung on late to avoid its first back-to-back losses since Jan. 6 (Jan. 7, PHL time). But in the first half, the Rockets lost backup forward Luc Mbah a Moute to a dislocated right shoulder in a meaningless game.
Andre Ingram scored 19 points with four three-pointers for the Lakers in the 32-year-old guard's impressive NBA debut. Los Angeles promoted the 10-year G League veteran from its South Bay affiliate for the final two games of the regular season, and the developmental league's career leader in three-pointers hit a triple on his first NBA shot.
Ingram's fourth three-pointer with 51 seconds left trimmed Houston's lead to 102-99, but the Lakers couldn't score again. Ingram finished 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 on three-pointers along with three rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal.
The Rockets are locked into the top seed in the Western Conference, but coach Mike D'Antoni still kept his regular starters and rotation. Houston then took a potentially important hit when Mbah a Moute dislocated his shoulder for the second time this season while dunking in the second quarter.
Mbah a Moute averages 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds while playing nearly 26 minutes per game as a key rotation player.
Rookie Josh Hart scored 20 points for the Lakers, who played without injured Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma in the penultimate game of their franchise-record fifth consecutive losing season.
Rockets: Ryan Anderson missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Mbah a Moute missed 15 games in December and January with the same dislocated shoulder. He re-injured the joint without contact, heading immediately to the locker room.
Lakers: Ball missed his seventh straight game with a bruised left knee, while Ingram has played just two games since March 1 (Mar. 2, PHL time) due to a groin strain and an apparent concussion. Ball, Ingram and Kuzma — who has a sprained left ankle — are unlikely to play in the club's season final on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), coach Luke Walton said. If that's the case, Ball will finish his rookie season averaging 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game, while Kuzma will finish his promising rookie campaign with 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
LONG TIME COMING
Ingram made his NBA debut for the Lakers after 384 games over a full decade in the developmental G League, including parts of the past six years with the Lakers' affiliate. The former American University physics major has hit 713 three-pointers in the G League with 46-percent accuracy, but his slight stature kept him out of the NBA until this late call-up. Ingram played briefly in Australia, but mostly declined chances to play overseas because he was determined to earn an NBA shot through the minors. He once tutored teammates in math to make extra cash in the offseason. Ingram averaged only 9.1 points this season for the South Bay Lakers, but hit 47.5 percent of his three-pointers.
Rockets: At the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).
Lakers: A "road" season finale against the Clippers on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).