NBA regular season

Lakers edge lowly Rockets in final seconds

Lakers edge lowly Rockets in final seconds

TIGHT. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma shoots against Rockets guard Armoni Brooks during the first half.

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Lakers struggle against the cellar-dwelling Rockets before Kyle Kuzma hits the go-ahead bucket

Kyle Kuzma drove for the decisive layup with 6.9 seconds remaining to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 124-122 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, May 12 (Thursday, May 13, Manila time).

Talen Horton-Tucker contributed 23 points and 10 assists, Andre Drummond recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Kuzma had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists as Los Angeles (40-30) won its third straight game.

The Lakers played without LeBron James (ankle) for the 26th time in the past 28 games. Anthony Davis (adductor) also sat out.

Houston’s chance to win was thwarted when Wesley Matthews forced Kelly Olynyk to fumble the ball. Horton-Tucker recovered it and was fouled, splitting two free throws with 0.9 seconds left, missing the second on purpose.

Armoni Brooks scored a career-best 24 points and Olynyk also had 24 for Houston (16-54), which has lost seven straight games and 44 of their past 49. Kenyon Martin Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers lifted last season’s championship banner to the rafters prior to the contest.

Los Angeles is one game behind the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers as it bids to avoid the play-in round. The Lakers are currently in seventh place and would be part of that round if the standings hold.

Houston standout Christian Wood (ankle) missed his fifth straight game.

Montrezl Harrell scored 16 points for Los Angeles.

The Rockets faced a late eight-point deficit before Martin and Jae’Sean Tate connected on three-pointers and Martin split two free throws with 47 seconds to play to bring Houston within 121-120. 

Olynyk followed with two free throws with 22.9 seconds left to put the Rockets ahead.

Markieff Morris tallied 14 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alfonzo McKinnie scored 10 points apiece for the Lakers, who knocked down 57.1% of their shots, and hit 7-of-20 from three-point range.

Cam Oliver scored 17 points and Tate had 16 for the Rockets, who made 50.6% from the field and were 18-of-42 from behind the arc.

Los Angeles led 59-53 at the break.

Anthony Lamb completed an 11-2 surge with a three-pointer as Houston took a 72-71 lead with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter.

Los Angeles scored seven straight points late in the period to lead by seven. 

DJ Augustin ended that streak by being fouled while shooting a triple with 3.4 seconds left and he made all three attempts to bring Houston within 100-96. –