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(Tuesday, April 8th)
Final Score: Houston 145, LA Lakers 130
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden and Terrence Jones each poured in 33 points and the playoff-bound Houston Rockets pounded the Los Angeles Lakers, 145-130, on Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Rockets blew the game open with a 49-point third stanza, which fell one point shy of a franchise record for any quarter.
They shot 57.7 percent from the floor and made 11 3-pointers en route to their best offensive output of the season and moved 2 1/2 games in front of Portland for fourth place in the Western Conference.
"Tonight was a tough game, a weird game," Harden said.
Dwight Howard was unable to suit up against his former team, missing a sixth straight game due to an ankle injury. Omer Aski donated 10 points and 15 rebounds in his place, while Chandler Parsons and Isaiah Canaan contributed 19 and 15 points, respectively, to the rout.
In a lost season for Steve Nash and the Lakers, the two-time former league MVP nonetheless added to his exceptional resume by passing Mark Jackson for third on the NBA's all-time assists list.
"All of this is beyond my aspirations and wildest dreams. To be in that company is phenomenal," Nash said.
Nash's accomplishment, along with Nick Young's 32-point effort and Jodie Meeks' 30, were the few positive takeaways in Los Angeles' fifth straight loss.
The Rockets shot 53.2 percent in the first half but still only led by five, 66-61, at the break.
They shot an even better 75.0 percent (18-of-24) in the third quarter alone, including connecting on 7-of-10 from behind the arc, to put the game out of reach.
Parsons, Jones and Jeremy Lin all hit from long range in the opening stages, the latter's sparking a 13-0 run that stretched the lead to 94-71 just past the midway point.
Harden finished with 18 points in the frame, and by the time the fourth quarter started, the visitors were in front by a healthy 115-90 advantage.
Jones scored six point during a 10-0 run in the first quarter that propelled Houston to a 35-26 lead.
Meeks exploded for 14 points in the second quarter to carry the Lakers in front, but the Rockets still led at halftime, 66-61, after Harden and Parsons hooked up for an alley-oop just before the buzzer.
Jones left the game with a calf strain ... Houston's previous season high was 134, also against the Lakers in LA on Feb. 19 ... Only John Stockton (15,806) and Jason Kidd (12,091) have more assists than Nash's 10,335 ... The Rockets scored 34 more points in the paint (80-46) and held a 58-33 rebounding advantage ... Houston won the season series, 3-1.
04/09 02:22:25 ET