Lakers fail to close out Rockets

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 04, 2012
Toney Douglas had a season-high 22 points and Greg Smith added a career-best 21 to help the Houston Rockets overcome a tough outing by James Harden and rally for a 107-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. 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. Bryant fouled Douglas and he made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. The Lakers had a last chance, but Bryant missed a 3-point attempt before Metta World Peace missed a layup to give Houston the win. Harden finished with 15 points, but entered the fourth quarter with just eight points after shooting 2 of 18 through the first three quarters. Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points and Howard had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Los Angeles led by 13 before Houston used a 14-4 spurt to close the gap to 94-91 with five minutes left. The Lakers had six turnovers and missed five shots in that span. Bryant finally got Los Angeles going again with a free throw and a bucket to make it 97-91. The win is Houston's fifth in the last six games and drops the Lakers to 3-5 under new coach Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers were playing without forward Pau Gasol, who sat out because of tendinitis in both knees. Antawn Jamison started in his place and had 15 points and nine rebounds. A 9-0 run by the Rockets, which included five points from Carlos Delfino, got them within 75-68 with about four minutes left in the third quarter. The Lakers led 83-73 entering the fourth quarter after Bryant hit a fadeaway jumper as the quarter ended. The Rockets scored six straight points to get within seven points with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. The Lakers answered with a 7-2 run to push the lead to 67-55 with about eight minutes left in the quarter. Houston cut the lead to six points with a 3-pointer by Delfino early in the second quarter before the Lakers used a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 46-33 about five minutes before halftime. That run was capped by a dunk by Howard followed by a 3-pointer from Jamison. The Lakers led 58-45 at halftime. NOTES: The Rockets are paying tribute to coach Kevin McHale's daughter Alexandra ''Sasha'' McHale, who died on Nov. 24 at age 23 of complications from Lupus by wearing a green and purple band on their jerseys and a patch of the same color with her initials on their warm-up shirts. Green was her favorite color, and purple is the color that represents the fight against Lupus. McHale remains on leave indefinitely. ... Houston's Chandler Parsons scored 13 points for his 10th straight double-digit game.
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