NBA regular season

Lakers snap losing skid thanks to LeBron triple-double vs Rockets

Lakers snap losing skid thanks to LeBron triple-double vs Rockets

TOUGH TASK. Rockets rookie Jalen Green dribbles past Lakers star LeBron James during the final quarter.

Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook post triple-doubles as the Lakers survive a white-knuckle game against rookie Jalen Green and the Rockets

LeBron James posted a 30-point triple-double and paced four 20-point scorers for the Los Angeles Lakers, who snapped a five-game skid with a 132-123 road win over the Houston Rockets Tuesday, December 28 (Wednesday, December 29, Manila time) at Toyota Center.

James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists for his third triple-double but had ample support. Russell Westbrook chipped in his seventh triple-double (24 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) while Malik Monk added 25 points and Carmelo Anthony 24 off the Lakers bench.

A white-knuckle fourth quarter pivoted when the Lakers won a challenge of a goaltending call against James with 2:38 left. Instead of falling behind 118-117, the Lakers maintained their one-point lead and added to it when Anthony buried a corner three-pointer off a Westbrook assist.

Westbrook added an offensive rebound that yielded two James free throws and then added two more assists down the stretch, both times feeding James for points at the rim to cap the victory.

Rookie guard Jalen Green scored 14 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, who dropped their fifth consecutive game. Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood scored 22 apiece for the Rockets, who were outrebounded 48-30 and fell despite shooting 53% overall.

When David Nwaba followed a block of Anthony on defense with a layup on the offensive end, the Rockets completed their comeback from a nine-point deficit and led 85-84 at the 4:03 mark of the third quarter. 

The period featured four ties and four lead changes, but after Josh Christopher pulled the Rockets even with a driving layup with 34.2 seconds left, the Lakers responded with a Stanley Johnson layup and a Westbrook three-pointer just prior to the buzzer.

James authored a dominating first period after making the start at center. He logged the opening 10 minutes of the frame, scored 13 points via a blend of three-pointers and fadeaways and bully post moves, and added a pair of rebounds plus an assist. 

Anthony and Monk combined for 15 points in the Lakers’ 35-point quarter, but it was James who served as their offensive linchpin.

Yet despite James’ stellar play, Houston trailed by just one point entering the second. Porter and Wood combined for 16 points in the first with Porter adding 4 assists in a frenetic start. His energy following a 12-game absence was palpable, and the Rockets fed off it. 

Green threw down a pair of ferocious alley-oop dunks, the first off a feed from Porter that fueled the partisan crowd.

But the Lakers carried a 67-59 lead into the break, in part because they attacked when transition opportunities were available (12 fastbreak points) and also by virtue of their 9-for-21 three-point shooting. James had 18 points at the half, but three other Lakers joined him in double figures. –