HOUSTON – – LeBron James and Russell Westbrook both had triple doubles and the Los Angeles Lakers recorded a five-game skid, a season-high, with a 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday evening.
“The hardest thing to do in this league is win,” said James. “So when you win, you never take it for granted.”
James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his third triple-double this season, and it was his fifth straight 30-point game. Westbrook scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh of the season.
Houston hung around for most of the night, but James took over late to allow the Lakers to walk away and give the Rockets their fifth straight loss.
“For us to fight together and end up like we did with LeBron and Russ by doing it together, bringing him home, I think that’s a big step forward,” said the Assistant coach David Fizdale, who was replacing a fifth straight game for coach Frank Vogel due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Rockets were led by one when James was called up for goalie on a Jalen Green layup that would have put Houston in the lead with 2.5 minutes to go. But the Lakers disputed the call, and it was called off. Carmelo Anthony scored 3 points seconds later to extend the lead to 120-116.
James added two free throws after that and his one-handed dunk after a Houston turnaround made it 124-116 with less than 90 seconds to go.
Kevin Porter Jr.’s 3-point pointer put Houston in the five minutes before James struck again, pulling up a layup to take the lead to 126-119 with less than a minute left. player. James made four free throws after that to secure the win.
“I just feel like I’m in a really good offensive zone right now,” he said.
Green, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, led the Rockets with 24 points after missing 15 of the last 16 games with left hamstring strain.
“We expected to win,” said Houston coach Stephen Silas. “We had no problem standing up to these guys, not backing down. They had some great players who played really well. Russ with the triple-double, LeBron with the triple-double and Melo does his thing. It was hard. “
Anthony had 24 points off the bench on a night James started at center and big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan didn’t play.
James said it was his first time starting center at any level of basketball.
“I’ve never played the center of my life before,” he said. “I have always been on the wing or handling the ball.”
Fizdale praised the versatility James showed in his role on Tuesday night.
“This guy is amazing,” he said. “We are all very lucky as basketball players to be able to watch what we watch with this man.”
The Lakers took the lead scoring the last five points of the third quarter and opened the fourth with a 6-0 streak to make it 103-92 with 11 minutes left.
Green kicked Houston after that, scoring two 3-pointers in a 10-2 push that reduced the deficit to 105-102.
Porter had 22 points and nine assists on his return after missing the last 12 games with a bruised thigh. Christian Wood also scored 22.
Josh Christopher tied on a layup with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. But the Lakers scored the last five points of the quarter, capped by a 3 by Westbrook, to take a 97-92 lead in the fourth quarter. Westbrook pointed to the LA bench and smirked widely as he left the field after the shot.
Lakers: Fizdale said Vogel was set to return but was unsure of when he might join the team. … Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Austin Reaves and Rajon Rondo missed the game because of health and safety protocols. … Wayne Ellington missed the game for an illness the team said was unrelated to COVID-19.
Rockets: DJ Augustin, Kenyon Martin Jr., Garrison Mathews and Jae’Sean Tate were absent due to health and safety protocols.
Olympic gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles was involved in promoting the team’s first shot for charity before the match. Biles didn’t make the free throw, but Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta still donated $ 1,000 to the team’s foundation on his behalf for the effort.
Lakers: Visit Memphis Wednesday night.
Rockets: Miami host Friday night.