HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Despite James Harden’s 51-point night, the Rockets win streak is over at 14 games following after a 122-116 loss Wednesday night at Toyota Center.
The loss drops the Rockets to 25-5 on the season and ends the third longest win streak in franchise history.
Harden needed just 27 shots to get his 51 points. He made 15 of those field goal attempts, and attempted 21 free throws, making 17. In the process, he passed Elvin Hayes for fourth on the team’s all-time scoring list, but Harden didn’t get nearly enough help as the Rockets already without Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) didn’t have Clint Capela (heal), and lost Chris Paul in the fourth quarter with a left adductor strain.
Minus those guys, it didn’t help that the Rockets dug themselves a deep hole early on. Three-pointers by Brandon Ingram, Jason Hart, and Lonzo Ball staked the Lakers to a 9-0 lead, and Kyle Kuzma’s trey with 9:03 left in the first quarter put the Lakers up 10. Houston closed to within two, but Los Angeles responded with a 20-4 run and led by 15 after a quarter.
They pushed the lead to 22, but the Rockets scored the next six points, and Eric Gordon’s three at the buzzer put the Rockets down four at halftime, and Ryan Anderson’s reverse layup with 9:35 left in the third quarter gave the Rockets their first lead of the night, and led by as many as 3, but with the game tied, Los Angeles scored the final five points of the period to take a 94-89 lead into the fourth.
Through three quarters, Paul had just eight and five assists on 2-of-6 shooting in 24 minutes, and after he missed a 3-pointer in the first minute of the fourth, he left the game and didn’t return. The Lakers scored the first three points of the quarter only to see the Rockets tie the game with an 11-3 spurt, but the Lakers scored the next 10 points and led the rest of the way.
Eric Gordon added 21 points for the Rockets, who fall to 25-5 on the season, but he needed 21 shots to get it, while Trevor Ariza chipped in 18.
Rookie Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers in scoring with a career-high 38 points. He made his first nine shots, and finished 12-of-17 from the field.
Former Rocket Corey Brewer added 21 off the bench, while Lonzo Ball added 16.
The Lakers entered the game among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, but made 43 percent of their 35 attempts Wednesday.