THE FACTS: The Lakers turned their newly-installed offense up another notch Sunday night and Kobe Bryant had his hands at the controls, recording 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the 119-108 victory against the Rockets at Staples Center. The win lifted L.A. to .500 for the first time this season.
QUOTABLE: "I'm a scorer, not a triple-double player."
THE STAT: Bryant, off to one of the best starts in his 17-year career, recorded his 18th triple-double and the first in a little more than two years. Not to be completely outdone, every other starter for the Lakers also scored in double figures.
TURNING POINT: After an opening nine minutes that featured three ties and 14 lead changes, Bryant gave the Lakers the lead for good with 12-foot jumper -- the start of a 16-4 run to end the quarter. After the Rockets trimmed the deficit to four early in the third, Metta World Peace had six points and Bryant five in a 12-0 surge that put L.A. ahead by double digits for good.
HOT: With newly hired coach Mike D'Antoni still rehabbing from knee surgery, interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff was left to call the shots for a fifth consecutive game. D'Antoni's message must be getting through loud and clear from the trainer's room, however. The Lakers put up 40 points in the opening quarter while shooting 73.9 percent from the floor (17-for-23). Bryant was well on his way to the triple-double after the opening 12 minutes, totaling 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
NOT: Houston point guard Jeremy Lin continues to drift far from the "Linsanity" that took over the NBA last spring. He shot 2-for-9 and scored five points against the Lakers. Lin, lured from the Knicks with a three-year, $25-million contract he signed over the summer, is 33-for-93 on the season (35.5 percent) and has yet to shoot better than 50 percent in a game.
GOOD MOVE: It might not have been the prettiest assist of World Peace's career, but good chance it traveled the furthest. With two seconds left in the first quarter, World Peace threw an inbounds pass the length of the court to 7-foot forward Pau Gasol, who boxed out the Houston defense while camped under the basket, snared the pass and then laid it in at the buzzer for a 40-29 lead.
BAD MOVE: The Rockets must have known it would be a long night when both Lin and center Omer Asik suffered cuts to their forehead area in the first half. They both returned to the game but were the only Houston starters held to single digits in scoring.
QUOTABLE II: "Just because they have a new offense doesn't mean they're going to score 120. You know, if you don't guard them, they're going to look good."
-- Rockets coach Kelvin Sampson
NOTABLE: Gasol surpassed 15,000 points for his NBA career, becoming the 10th foreign-born player to reach that mark. ... The Lakers have scored 30 points or more in four of eight quarters since D'Antoni's first practice Thursday. ... Lakers point guard Darius Morris, in a starting role while Steve Nash (fractured lower left leg) and Steve Blake (lower abdominal strain) recover from their injuries, scored a career-high 12 points.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers: Tuesday vs. Brooklyn, Wednesday @ Sacramento, Friday @ Memphis. For the Rockets: Monday @ Utah, Wednesday vs. Chicago, Friday vs. New York