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Douglas Leads Rockets Over Lakers 107-105

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(credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP)  – Interim Houston coach Kelvin Sampson is always reminding his reserves that there will be some nights when the team’s stars will struggle and the Rockets will need them to pick up the slack.

Tuesday was one of those nights.

Toney Douglas had a season-high 22 points and Greg Smith added a career-best 21 to help the Rockets overcome a tough outing by James Harden and rally for a 107-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Douglas believes the development of Houston’s bench players will be important as the season progresses. Houston’s reserves had a season-high 59 points on Tuesday, compared to just 20 by the Lakers’ bench.

“That’s going to be key, and that’s only going to make us more dangerous,” he said.

The Lakers had a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go. But Houston used two big runs, including a 9-2 spurt capped by a 3-pointer from Douglas to take its first lead of the game – 100-99 – with about 2 1/2 minutes left.

Dwight Howard made three free throws after that, but a bucket by Smith and four free throws by Houston put the Rockets back on top 106-102. Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left to cut the lead to one.

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