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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 30 28 25 22 105
Play by Play Houston Rockets 22 23 28 34 107
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Douglas leads Rockets over Lakers 107-105

By KRISTIE RIEKEN
Posted Dec 04 2012 11:09PM

HOUSTON (AP) Toney Douglas had a season-high 22 points and Greg Smith added a career-best 21 to help the Houston Rockets overcome a tough outing by James Harden and rally for a 107-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

The Lakers had a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go. But Houston used two big runs, including a 9-2 spurt capped by a 3-pointer from Douglas to take its first lead of the game - 100-99 - with about 2 1/2 minutes left.

Dwight Howard made three free throws after that, but a bucket by Smith and four free throws by Houston put the Rockets back on top 106-102. Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds left to cut the lead to one.

Bryant fouled Douglas and he made one of two free throws with 8.8 seconds left. The Lakers had a last chance, but Bryant missed a 3-point attempt before Metta World Peace missed a layup to give Houston the win.

Harden finished with 15 points, but entered the fourth quarter with just eight points after shooting 2 of 18 through the first three quarters.

Bryant led the Lakers with 39 points and Howard had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Los Angeles led by 13 before Houston used a 14-4 spurt to close the gap to 94-91 with five minutes left. The Lakers had six turnovers and missed five shots in that span. Bryant finally got Los Angeles going again with a free throw and a bucket to make it 97-91.

The win is Houston's fifth in the last six games and drops the Lakers to 3-5 under new coach Mike D'Antoni.

The Lakers were playing without forward Pau Gasol, who sat out because of tendinitis in both knees. Antawn Jamison started in his place and had 15 points and nine rebounds.

A 9-0 run by the Rockets, which included five points from Carlos Delfino, got them within 75-68 with about four minutes left in the third quarter.

The Lakers led 83-73 entering the fourth quarter after Bryant hit a fadeaway jumper as the quarter ended.

The Rockets scored six straight points to get within seven points with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. The Lakers answered with a 7-2 run to push the lead to 67-55 with about eight minutes left in the quarter.

Houston cut the lead to six points with a 3-pointer by Delfino early in the second quarter before the Lakers used a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 46-33 about five minutes before halftime. That run was capped by a dunk by Howard followed by a 3-pointer from Jamison.

The Lakers led 58-45 at halftime.

NOTES: The Rockets are paying tribute to coach Kevin McHale's daughter Alexandra "Sasha" McHale, who died on Nov. 24 at age 23 of complications from Lupus by wearing a green and purple band on their jerseys and a patch of the same color with her initials on their warm-up shirts. Green was her favorite color, and purple is the color that represents the fight against Lupus. McHale remains on leave indefinitely. ... Houston's Chandler Parsons scored 13 points for his 10th straight double-digit game.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 39
Rebounds Howard, 12
Assists Duhon, 7
Steals Bryant and Asik/Douglas, 2
Blocks Howard, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the game:
“We had some defensive breakdowns the last two or three minutes, almost a little bit like Orlando. Every game is a little bit different but this one there were about two or three offensive rebounds and they would kick it back out and hit the open shot. We had too many offensive breakdowns where guys didn’t switch. When you don’t do things like that, you lose.”

On offensive rebound and turnover difference:
“Both offensive rebounds and turnovers jump out on you. Turnovers on unforced errors really killed us. We’ve got some stuff to do but we’re close and I thought this game would be really good. But we’ve got some tighten up to do but we’ll see if we can get it done in New Orleans (next game).”

On Dwight Howard and his free throw problems in the fourth quarter and did he think about taking him out of the game:
“People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the forth quarter. It’s pretty simple – you don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”




Kobe Bryant:

On the loss:
“We let this game get away. We just have to play a little better. Especially down the stretch. I felt like our guys played well. I thought Clark came in and did extremely well and Hill came in and gave us a big boost. Meeks has been playing lights out lately.”

On the deliberate fouls of Howard:
“That’s just a strategy that teams are employing and we have to figure out the best strategy to defend it. You have to do what it takes to win. We’ve talked about it a little bit. He just has to keep working at it all the time and keep practicing and doing it over and over until he turns it into a strength.”

On the Rockets:
“Houston did a good job and they spaced the floor very well and moved the ball very well. They made some big shots.”




Antawn Jamison:

On the key to the game:
“Offensively we just didn’t move the ball at the end the way we did the first three quarters almost similar to our last game (Orlando). The game should’ve been over with by the time the fourth quarter started but we gave them life and that’s a talented team over there. They got the opportunity to hit some shots and slow the game down a little bit. When we got the opportunity we just didn’t move the ball the way we did in the first half.”




Metta World Peace:

On the game:
“I’m just worried about the next game. I just know we have another game tomorrow and we’ve got to play some ball.”

On what happened in the fourth quarter:
“I’m just trying to forget about this game and move on to the next one.”

On the Rockets:
“I really don’t know it’s hard to say. I don’t really have an idea who they’re team is yet. They are young and talented and building toward the future.”




Kelvin Sampson:

On “Hack-a-Dwight”:
“It has to be circumstantial; that was the right time to do it for a couple of reasons. One, it gets the ball out of Kobe's (Bryant) hands. There's not a better 4th quarter player in this league than Kobe. They (Lakers) set the rhythm. It was hard for us to get them out of that rhythm. I thought our defense the last 16 minutes of the game was better. They're (Lakers) such a rhythm team. It (Hack-a-Dwight) comes under the category 'you do what you have to do to win the game.'”

On Greg Smith's play:
“Greg is actually more physical than Omer (Asik). Omer is bigger. He (Smith) has more of a physical presence than Omer. Greg is just country ox strong. That's just an ox strong kid. He gets in the weight room and does his thing. The good Lord gave him some good genes. You can't move him. To play Dwight (Howard) you have to deliver the initial blow because if Dwight delivers the initial blow then he's driving the position. Greg absorbs it and gives it back. Dwight can't catch it at eight and shoot it at three. If he catches it an eight, he (Dwight) has to make a decision at eight.”

On the game and the play of the bench:
“James (Harden) had a tough night. Chandler (Parsons) had a tough night. Jeremy (Lin) had a tough night. We had a lot of guys struggle but our bench was good. Our bench was good the first half. There is a lot to be said about playing the entire 48 minutes and having guys on the bench that you trust that can come through. Toney Douglas, Greg (Smith) and Carlos (Delfino), those three guys are special. They were tough for us tonight.”




Toney Douglas:

On Coach Sampson's confidence in his play late in the game:
“It feels good to know when the coaches and your teammates have confidence in you to finish the game even though (Jeremy) Lin was in foul trouble. The second group, we had a rhythm out there and coach kept us on the floor. I feel like our bench is going to be key for us down the stretch. The coaches and all the teammates have to believe in the starters and the bench if we want to get to our goal, the playoffs. I think that's going to be real key.”

On the play of Greg Smith:
“He was big. I always tell Greg he can be a great pro. You know he's young, he's big, he's strong. If he just keeps putting the work in, I feel he's going to be a great pro.”




James Harden:

On his play in relation to the win:
“I just try to do other things to impact the game. I had 10 rebounds or something like that. I was trying to find other ways to help my team win. When my shot wasn't falling guys like Greg (Smith) and Toney (Douglas) and Carlos (Delfino) stepped up and made big shots and made big plays.”

On the importance of the play of the bench:
“Phenomenal. They made big shots, big plays. Greg (Smith) did a great job of being physical with Dwight (Howard) and finishing around the rim. Carlos (Delfino) made some big shots and played good defense. The guys really stepped up tonight.”




Carlos Delfino:

On the play of Greg Smith:
“I love him. I'm such a fan of Greg (Smith). He's been great since day one. He's just a kid. He's so strong. He can play and he listens. He wants to work. He wants to get better. I'm happy for him because the last couple of games he's been great. He is beginning to develop and today was just huge. He is so strong going to the basket, dunking balls and running the court.”




Greg Smith:

On the key to the win:
“Just not giving up. Going out there and playing defense as a team, as a unit. All five guys sticking together and fighting to the end. We knew when we were down by 15 (points) or 13 (points) that we had to get stops and that we needed to get some fast breaks and turnovers to make it a game.”

On the Rockets improved play in the second half vs. the first half:
“We said (at halftime), 'go hard or go home.' We were down by 15 (points) or 17 (points) and he (Coach Sampson) said to go out there and play hard and come back to try to win this game and we just didn't give up. We are fighters. I told everybody to go out there and play hard. We are not pretenders. I'm going to go out there and do my best. We went out there and just got stops and got the win.”

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LAKERS-ROCKETS PREVIEW

By MATT BEARDMORE

Posted Dec 04 2012 12:05AM

Kobe Bryant knows the Los Angeles Lakers need to improve in many areas.

Houston could be a difficult place to make those changes.

Bryant and the Lakers will try to climb back to .500 on Tuesday night when the Rockets seek their first six-game home winning streak in two seasons.

Still disappointed at a 113-103 loss to Orlando on Sunday that capped off the team's 1-2 homestand, Bryant provided a relatively simple solution for the Lakers' inconsistency.

"It's not rocket science, it's not solving world hunger, you just gotta go out there and do your job," he said a day after Los Angeles was outscored 40-26 in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers (8-9) are still trying to find their way under coach Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll system – going 3-4 since he took for the fired Mike Brown – but Bryant continues to do his job, leading the NBA with 27.6 points per game. Bryant said Pau Gasol needs to step up his game, especially with Steve Nash out indefinitely with a small fracture in his right leg, Steve Blake gone the next 6-to-8 weeks with a torn abdominal muscle, and the Lakers' bench among the worst in the league with 23.4 points per game.

Gasol is averaging 10.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting under D'Antoni.

"He might not be posting up as much as he'd like," said Bryant, 52 points shy of becoming the fifth in league history with 30,000. "But he just has to adjust. The reality is I've adjusted. I've never run this many screen and rolls in my entire life, but I've worked on it."

Dwight Howard needs to work on his free throw shooting. The six-time All-Star center is hitting a career-low 46.5 percent from the foul line after missing 12 of 21 on Sunday, including seven of his 14 fourth-quarter attempts.

"As a team, our effort wasn't there," Howard said.

The Lakers can't afford that against a Rockets team that's won four of five overall and going for its first six-game run at home since reeling off seven straight from March 14-April 3, 2011.

Houston (8-8) is averaging 113.0 points and shooting 49.9 percent – including 45.5 percent from 3-point range - during its home winning streak. All five starters have reached double figures in the last three at the Toyota Center, with the team totaling 78 assists during this stretch.

"There's a lot more balance, and I think the ball is moving," point guard Jeremy Lin said after handing out a team-best eight assists in Saturday's 124-116 win over Utah. "We're getting our bigs in a spot that they need to be to keep the floor spread. It's starting to look more and more dangerous."

Chandler Parsons and James Harden, the team leader with 24.1 points per game, are the Rockets' biggest threats from long range with 36 and 31 3-pointers, respectively, but Los Angeles' frontline needs to keep an eye on Patrick Patterson. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 23.0 points and has hit 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the last three games.

"Pat, the way he's shooting the ball, it's going to stretch out the defense so much. It's not going to allow teams to show as hard on pick-and-rolls and go and double James," Parsons told the Rockets' official website.

Parsons led Houston with 24 points and Harden added 20 in a 119-108 loss at the Lakers on Nov. 18 when Bryant countered with his 18th career triple-double with 22 points, 11 boards and 11 assists.

Houston has won 23 of 25 December home games.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #25 Parsons  
  #16 GasolPF #54 Patterson  
  #12 Howard C #3 Asik  
  #24 Bryant SG #13 Harden  
  #1 Morris PG #7 Lin  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc; sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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11/18 - HOU 108 @ LAL 119
12/04 - LAL @ HOU
01/08 - LAL @ HOU
04/17 - HOU @ LAL
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