Harden's 50-point triple-double leads Rockets over Lakers
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 14, 2018 01:14 PM
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) dunks the ball as Los Angeles Lakers' JaVale McGee defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, scoring 11 points during a big fourth-quarter run to lead the Houston Rockets to a 126-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time).
Harden grabbed his 10th rebound with less than 90 seconds left to give him his second triple-double this season and the 37th of his career.
LeBron James finished with 29 points for the Lakers, who had won their previous two games.
Houston's lead was three after Kyle Kuzma's soaring dunk, but Harden was fouled on a three-pointer and made all three free throws to make it 112-106.
Harden then made three-pointers on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 12 and cause Lakers coach Luke Walton to call a timeout. James was in Harden's face on the second one and Harden fell to the court as the ball rolled around the rim for a couple of seconds before dropping in.
James added a dunk before Clint Capela and Harden made consecutive baskets to compete the 13-2 run and make it 122-108 to put the game out of reach.
It was the first meeting between these teams since Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo got into a fight on Oct. 20 (Oct. 21, PHL time) that led to suspensions for both players and Brandon Ingram. There wasn't an altercation this time around in a game where Rondo sat out as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken right hand. But there was a spate of technical fouls late in the third quarter that led to the ejection of Nene.
The Lakers scored six straight points, highlighted by a dunk from James, to get within 74-72 midway through the third quarter. Los Angeles ran off six in a row later in the period to tie it up before Harden ended the run with a jump shot. Nene then received a foul after being knocked to the ground trying to defend Kuzma as he drove to the lane. He yelled at officials and received a technical foul.
Kuzma made his free throws but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed the technical shot.
Nene made a hook shot before fouling Kuzma again on the next possession. He continued to scream at officials and was hit with a second technical foul and was ejected. Harden attempted to calm him down, but Nene continued to be agitated until he was escorted to the locker room.
Kuzma made all three foul shots and added a three-pointer with Harden in his face after a triple by Harden to leave the Lakers up 88-87 with 9.9 seconds left in the quarter.
Kuzma was called for a foul after that and Walton got a technical for arguing about that call.
Harden made the technical shot and Paul added two more free throws to leave Houston up 90-88 after three.
Lakers: Kuzma received a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing about a foul call. ... Brandon Ingram missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Kuzma had 24 points to give him 20 or more points in a career-best six straight games.
Rockets: Brandon Knight played in his first game since Feb. 15, 2017, after recovering from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. He came in with about four minutes left in the first quarter and played about four minutes with one assist and one rebound. ... James Ennis sat out with a strained right hamstring.
Lakers: Visit Charlotte on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Rockets: Visit Memphis on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).