LeBron James scored 36 points, Rajon Rondo sparked a fourth-quarter rally and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 112-102 on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.
James earned his NBA-record 162nd playoff victory, surpassing former Lakers guard Derek Fisher’s 161.
Rondo had 21 points and nine assists as the Lakers broke open a close game in the final period. He scored eight straight points during a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter that put the Lakers ahead for good. Rondo assisted on the other basket during that stretch.
Anthony Davis had 26 points and Kyle Kuzma added 14. James Harden scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 for the Rockets.
Rockets forward Robert Covington was taken to the locker room after colliding with Davis in the fourth quarter. The left side of Covington’s face hit Davis' right arm, while Covington’s left elbow hit Davis' right side.
Rondo assisted on a layup by James that put the Lakers ahead with about 10 minutes remaining. Rondo then hit a 3-pointer to give the Lakers an 89-85 advantage, their largest lead to that point.
After a Houston timeout, Westbrook missed a shot and Rondo sank another 3. Rondo then stole the ball from Harden and made a layup to cap the 10-0 run.
LA controlled the final period for the second straight game. The Lakers blew a 21-point lead in Game 2 but outscored Houston by 10 in the fourth quarter to win 117-109.
Lakers: C JaVale McGee returned to action but G Dion Waiters was unavailable after both players were hurt in Game 2. Coach Frank Vogel said Waiters is day to day with a strained groin.
Rockets: Danuel House missed the game for what coach Mike D’Antoni said were personal reasons unrelated to COVID-19. House had scored 13 points off the bench in Game 2. ... This marked the fourth time in D’Antoni’s tenure that Houston split the first two games of a playoff series. In the previous three instances, the Game 3 victor went on to win the series.
Game 4 is Thursday.