Harden-led Rockets add to Lakers' woes

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 08, 2013
James Harden scored 31 and Chandler Parsons added 20 to help the Houston Rockets pick up their fifth straight win, a 125-112 victory over the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night Houston trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but used a pair of runs in the third quarter to go on top and build a big lead. Metta World Peace had a season-high 24 points for the Lakers, who were playing without their top three big men Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill - all out with injuries. Kobe Bryant added 20 for the Lakers and Steve Nash had 16 as they tied a season-high with their fourth straight loss. The Rockets have rallied from double-digit deficits for their last three wins. As usual, they did it on Tuesday night behind the strong play of Harden, who has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games. Howard has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Gasol has a concussion and Hill a right hip injury. All three are out indefinitely. Seven-foot rookie center Robert Sacre made his first career start due to the injuries, and finished with 10 points, four blocked shots and three rebounds. Jeremy Lin chipped in 19 points with six rebounds and five assists for Houston and Carlos Delfino also scored 19. The Rockets led by nine midway through the fourth quarter, and used a 5-0 run highlighted by a 3-point play by Lin to make it 112-98. Lin drove to the basket and made the layup as he fell to the court after being fouled by Sacre. Houston used a 10-2 spurt early in the third quarter to tie it at 69-69 after a 3-point play by Marcus Morris with 6 1/2 minutes left in the quarter. The Rockets used a 23-11 run after that to take a 92-80 lead near the end of the third quarter. Lin had nine points in that span and Harden added six. Bryant hit a jump shot with about five minutes left in the third quarter, and the Lakers didn't score another field goal Chris Duhon made a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left in the quarter. The Lakers missed six shots in that span. Houston led 96-88 at the end of the third quarter. The Rockets were still down by six midway through the second quarter before using a 7-0 run capped by a 3 from Delfino to take their first lead of the game - 47-46 - about five minutes before halftime. The game was tied a couple of minutes later when Steve Nash scored five quick points to put the Lakers on top 56-51. Los Angeles led 62-59 at halftime. The Lakers led 18-4 early after a run where World Peace made two 3-pointers and Darius Morris made one. The Lakers were up by 13 later in the quarter before Houston used a 12-5 spurt powered by two 3s from Delfino to cut the lead to 34-28 at the end of the first quarter. NOTES: Gasol was examined by a neurologist on Tuesday and was not cleared to play. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday. ... Harden's 13 straight games with at least 25 points are tied with Moses Malone for the such streak in franchise history.
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