NBA -- Lakers ground Rockets, improve to 5-5
By Ryan Medida
Tue, 20 Nov 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- Slow and steady wins the race. And for the Los Angeles Lakers, so is the climb back to a respectable record.
After a historically awful 1-4 start that cost head coach Mike Brown his job, the Lakers have quietly won four of their last five assignments and improved their won-lost record to 5-5 overall. The Houston Rockets were L.A's latest victim, going down 119-108, Sunday night at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Center Dwight Howard anchored the Lakers with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and three shotblocks while Kobe Bryant whipped the 18th triple-double of his career to doom the visiting Rockets, who dropped to 4-6 for the season after an encouraging 2-0 start.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in 35 minutes of action. He sank 9-of-18 field goals, 1-of-3 treys and 3-of-5 free throws. The only wrinkle in his fabulous performance was three turnovers.
All five of L.A.'s starters scored in double figures, highlighting the team's newfound firepower predicated on a balanced, free-wheeling attack. Pau Gasol had 17 points and five rebounds while Metta World Peace added 15 points and two assists for the Lakers, who drained 54.1 percent of their field goals (46-of-85) and 9-of-20 of their 3s (45 percent).
Although Houston shot well from the field --- 44 of 90 including 9-of-23 above the arc --- the Rockets couldn't recover from a 40-point first quarter assault from the host Lakers.
Chandler Parsons paced the Rockets with 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting. James Harden finished with 20 points and seven assists while Marcus Morris added 12. Jeremy Lin of the Linsanity fame, couldn't get going, and struggled shooting the ball. He missed 7-of-9 field goals for five points and 10 assists. (Ryan Medida)
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