Lakers end Rockets' 14-game win streak
Kyle Kuzma led the offensive charge as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped the red-hot Houston Rockets’ 14-game winning streak with a 122-116 upset victory on Wednesday night.
Kuzma scored an NBA career-high 38 points as the Lakers dominated the Rockets early then held on through a mid-game Houston rally to claim the win and end their own three-game losing skid.
“I scored 30 in the summer league,” Kuzma said. “This is a better team but the same mentality.”
The loss spoiled a 51-point scoring performance by Rockets star James Harden, who also added nine assists.
The Rockets dropped to 25-5 on the season and also lost for the first time with guard Chris Paul in their lineup.
Paul departed early in the fourth quarter with a sore left leg and did not return after scoring eight points in 25 minutes.
The Lakers improved to 11-18 on the season with Kuzma scoring 24 of his 38 points in the first half on nine-of-nine shooting.
Los Angeles shot 47.1 per cent overall and, after entering the game dead last in the NBA in three-point percentage, nailed 15 of 35 attempts from beyond the arc to keep the Rockets in check.
The Lakers played without starters Brook Lopez (ankle) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (personal reasons).
Kuzma got plenty of offensive help as a half dozen Lakers finished in double-digit scoring, including reserve forward Corey Brewer, who had a season-high 21 points.
Brewer was shipped by the Rockets to Los Angeles at the trading deadline last February.
Brewer sparked the decisive run with a nifty layup at the 7:04 mark of the fourth quarter to break a 100-100 tie.
The Lakers stretched that lead to 10 points before the Rockets could muster a reply that fell short.
Rookie guard Lonzo Ball added 16 points and nine rebounds while Larry Nance and Brandon Ingram scored 13 apiece for the Lakers.
Elsewhere, LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Pau Gasol collected 20 points, 17 rebounds and five assists as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 93-91 at Moda Center.
The Spurs shot 51.3 per cent from the field and outrebounded Portland 53-38 en route to their 11th win in 14 outings.
Damian Lillard scored 17 points for the Trail Blazers, who lost for the fifth straight time at home.
The Blazers had a chance to win in the final moments, but CJ McCollum’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired. Aldridge and Gasol each scored 16 points as Spurs led 54-46 at halftime.
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