By Joshua Reese

Houston (CBS Houston) – Not much stood in the way of the Rockets climb to .500 on Saturday night against the Lakers. The Rockets got used hot shooting to beat the Lakers 126 to 97.

Rockets started hot hitting 50% of their shots in the first quarter taking a 32 to 25 lead behind a very strong start from James Harden who finished the quarter with 16 points (7 for 7 shooting).

“We had a really good start,” James Harden said, “throughout the game our defense really picked up, we got a lot of opportunities on offense, from our defense.”

The defense would shine, getting stops and turnovers and the Rockets would extend the lead further in the second quarter. The Rockets would go into the half leading 63 to 49 and would not look back.

The Lakers would string together some good possessions together in a row, but each time they would near ten points. The Rockets would hit a three or the defense would stiffen and cause turnovers and the Rockets would go right back on top.

“We did some really good things tonight, and there’s some things we really got to work on,” Dwight Howard said, “we had a quarter where we gave up 30 points, for us to be successful later on in the season, we can’t give up 30 point quarters.”

The Rockets are winners of six of their last eight games, and Saturday night the win was in part due to Harden’s big night (ninth 30 point performance of the year) and Dwight Howard’s double-double (finished the night with 18 points and 12 rebounds). But the bench like many other nights during this recent run has come up big and really carried the Rockets when the starters head to the bench.