Harden, Rockets use second-half charge to down Lakers
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden poured in 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting and spearheaded Houston's second-half surge to lead the Rockets past the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, 113-99, at Toyota Center.
Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones each posted double-doubles, with Howard totaling 20 points and 13 rebounds and Jones adding 15 points and 13 boards in Houston's second straight victory.
The Lakers had three players score 20-plus points, but are still mired in a 1-9 slump. Nick Young netted 25 points off the bench, while Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks each had 21 in a losing effort. Gasol also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Los Angeles was done in by 18 turnovers, seven coming in a lopsided third quarter that essentially decided the outcome.
"We're just not taking care of the ball. We get slow. We get methodical. We got stuck in the mud in the second half, and we've got to do a better job," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said.
The Lakers hung around for 2 1/2 quarters, even leading by 11 at one point in the second and taking a 57-52 lead into halftime.
But Harden took over midway through the third, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6:30 remaining to start a 17-2 run, and the Rockets led from there.
Harden finished with 17 points in the quarter, and even though Howard shot just 7-of-16 from the foul line against his former club in the fourth, the Rockets never let their lead dip below double digits.
"Everybody was being aggressive [in the second half]. I just kind of played back and tried to get everybody involved," said Harden.
Harden has scored at least 35 points in three straight games, the first Rockets player to accomplish the feat since Tracy McGrady in 2006. He tied his season high point total and added five steals ... The Rockets outscored the Lakers in the paint, 56-46, and had 10 more fastbreak points (27-17) ... Jeremy Lin chipped in with 14 points for Houston.
01/09 00:19:45 ET