HOUSTON – LeBron James had 31 points and 12 assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rode a big third quarter to a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
The Lakers bounced back after a loss to Orlando on Wednesday night that snapped their nine-game winning streak. The loss was the third straight for the Rockets, which ties a season high, and they have dropped four of five.
Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points, and Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each had 20 for the Lakers.
Russell Westbrook scored 35 points for his fourth straight 30-point game and James Harden had 34 for the Rockets, who also lost three in a row in late November.
Los Angeles didn't lead in the first half but used a 32-point third quarter to take a nine-point lead into the fourth.
Houston used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 10 with about seven minutes left, but the Lakers scored the next six points to extend it to 110-94 midway through the quarter. That sent many Rockets fans streaming for the exits and caused a large contingent of Lakers fans to start chanting, “Let's go Lakers.”
The Rockets did not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Lakers opened the second half with a 10-3 run to take their first lead of the game, 69-68, with about eight minutes left in the third quarter. James capped that run by making a basket and then added another one seconds later after JaVale McGee blocked a dunk attempt by Clint Capela. McGee beat his chest and screamed after in Capela's direction after the play and received a technical foul for taunting.
There were about seven minutes left in the third when Westbrook and Anthony Davis, who missed the game with an injury, both received technical fouls for jawing at each other.
The Lakers led by three later in the third when Kuzma scored the first four points of a 9-2 run that stretched the lead to 85-75.
Houston had a chance to cut the deficit at the end of the third quarter, but Westbrook missed two free throws to leave the Lakers up 91-82 entering the fourth.
Lakers: Davis missed a fifth straight game with a bruised backside. ... Dwight Howard received a technical foul early in the third quarter for yelling at Houston players from the bench. ... Kuzma went to the locker room briefly in the third quarter to get his left ankle re-taped and returned to start the fourth.
Rockets: Westbrook is the first Rocket besides Harden to score 30 points in four straight games since Tracy McGrady did it in six games in a row in the 2006-07 season. ... Eric Gordon had 13 points. ... Capela had 12 rebounds.
Lakers: Visit Boston on Monday.
Rockets: Host Oklahoma City on Monday.
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