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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 34 28 26 24 112
Play by Play Houston Rockets 28 31 38 28 125
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Douglas leads Rockets over Lakers 107-105

By KRISTIE RIEKEN
Posted Jan 08 2013 10:35PM

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden scored 31 and Chandler Parsons added 20 to help the Houston Rockets pick up their fifth straight win, a 125-112 victory over the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Houston trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but used a pair of runs in the third quarter to go on top and build a big lead.

Metta World Peace had a season-high 24 points for the Lakers, who were playing without their top three big men Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill - all out with injuries.

Kobe Bryant added 20 for the Lakers and Steve Nash had 16 as they tied a season-high with their fourth straight loss.

The Rockets have rallied from double-digit deficits for their last three wins. As usual, they did it on Tuesday night behind the strong play of Harden, who has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games.

Howard has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Gasol has a concussion and Hill a right hip injury. All three are out indefinitely. Seven-foot rookie center Robert Sacre made his first career start due to the injuries, and finished with 10 points, four blocked shots and three rebounds.

Jeremy Lin chipped in 19 points with six rebounds and five assists for Houston and Carlos Delfino also scored 19.

The Rockets led by nine midway through the fourth quarter, and used a 5-0 run highlighted by a 3-point play by Lin to make it 112-98. Lin drove to the basket and made the layup as he fell to the court after being fouled by Sacre.

Houston used a 10-2 spurt early in the third quarter to tie it at 69-69 after a 3-point play by Marcus Morris with 6 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.

The Rockets used a 23-11 run after that to take a 92-80 lead near the end of the third quarter. Lin had nine points in that span and Harden added six.

Bryant hit a jump shot with about five minutes left in the third quarter, and the Lakers didn't score another field goal Chris Duhon made a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left in the quarter. The Lakers missed six shots in that span.

Houston led 96-88 at the end of the third quarter.

The Rockets were still down by six midway through the second quarter before using a 7-0 run capped by a 3 from Delfino to take their first lead of the game - 47-46 - about five minutes before halftime.

The game was tied a couple of minutes later when Steve Nash scored five quick points to put the Lakers on top 56-51.

Los Angeles led 62-59 at halftime.

The Lakers led 18-4 early after a run where World Peace made two 3-pointers and Darius Morris made one. The Lakers were up by 13 later in the quarter before Houston used a 12-5 spurt powered by two 3s from Delfino to cut the lead to 34-28 at the end of the first quarter.

NOTES: Gasol was examined by a neurologist on Tuesday and was not cleared to play. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday. ... Harden's 13 straight games with at least 25 points are tied with Moses Malone for the such streak in franchise history.

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 Harden (HOU), 31
Rebounds Clark, 9
Assists Nash, 10
Steals World Peace and Lin (HOU), 4
Blocks Sacre, 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On his team's play:
“We played well in first half and then Houston got to the rim. We couldn't keep them in front of us and obviously we were lacking a little size inside. We just didn't do a very good job in keeping them in front of us. We're down but we'll fight tomorrow. There some things we can clean up with group and do a better job. A little more attention to detail and we'll do better.”

On the team's defense:
“We keep talking about defense and showing them and when we get the big fella back, it should help, but it hasn't. We have to keep people from just going by us. I don't know how many points they got in the paint, about 20 more than we had. Houston did a great job on fast break and second chance points. Houston is good and you have to give them credit. They played very well.”

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 what went wrong in the second half:
“Dribble penetration hurt us quite a bit. Sacre and Earl Clark really came in and played extremely well and gave us a lot of energy. I was very proud in how they played.”

On Steve Nash:
“He's a little more reasonable than I am when it comes to how we're playing. We kind of bounce things off each other and I'm stubborn as a mule but I keep driving this thing forward and so does he. He tends to have more perspective than I do. Everybody has self doubt but I never succumb to it.”

On the Rockets:
“They really spread us out and they really break us down and go by us. We're not the fastest team, so they really break us down and get by us on the penetration. That puts a lot of pressure on out defense where we have to play the lane and battle a little more. They are a good 3-point shooting team, but that's just something on some nights you have to live with.”

On James Harden:
“I love him. He's been one of my favorite players since he came out of Arizona State. He has really developed and expanded his game.”

On overall impression of the Rockets:
“They are playing well. They are coached extremely well and play with a lot of energy and they have a lot of good shooters and they are just really playing well.”




Steve Nash:

On what changed from the first to the second half:
“I think we just were down a little bit. They came harder and harder and fatigue and the lack of numbers up front really hurt us. The bottom line is we kind of ran out of gas a little bit. We couldn't protect the paint and we needed more bodies.”

On the problem with the Lakers defense:
“Tonight we could offer up a number of excuses but what is troubling is when we were healthy, we weren't stopping people either. I think the two areas for me is defensive transition and getting back and protecting the paint. There were a couple of coverages that were a step late but those are curable things.”

On his 10,000th assist:
“If I take a step back, this is another example of a fairy tale career but it’s really hard to enjoy it right now. I don't want to discredit it or not appreciate the company that I share. It’s a mile stone, but right now it’s the farthest thing from my mind.”




Kevin McHale:

On team's play:
“That was a defensive clinic out there tonight. They (Lakers) played faster than I thought they would. Steve Nash had it going. Metta World Peace made some threes so it was one of those games. Guy shot the ball well. They were 14-of-31 from the three. We were 11-of-25 from the three. We just kind of gotta play our game, we gotta get enough stops and one thing we really watch out for is our turnovers. Our turnovers are starting to lead to too many damn points for them. We had 18 turnovers that led to 26 points. Some of our turnovers are direct layups for them, but we play a little bit of a risky offense sometimes. Carlos (Delfino) was fantastic for us, James (Harden) was fantastic, Chandler (Parsons) really made some nice drives. We were sticky with the ball early and then kind of a little after we got down, the ball started moving a little more. Then we got enough stops that we can get out and run and it was a high score affair.”

On Jeremy Lin's play:
“Jeremy did a much better job just being more aggressive. Jeremy, at times, can get caught being in no man's land and that's kind of a little bit in between. He's much better when he's passing early or thrusting to the basket and he did a better job of that. He handles the ball quite a bit, James (Harden) handles the ball quite a bit, so they're going to have some turnovers. Seven starts to get a little excessive. We found a way to work our way around that and score enough points. Our league has evolved into a lot of defensive pressure. That was really the thing for a lot of years. We put a lot of offensive pressure on you to score because we keep on scoring. That's what they were doing to us. They stared off that first half and I was like “guys, we gotta get our defense down, we gotta keep running, we gotta keep being active. It was a high scoring deal.”

On Carlos Delfino's play:
“Carlos has a good stroke, I've said that before. When you're watching him shoot the ball, he's relaxed and guys are rebounding for him. Upstairs in the gym, he's got a beautiful stroke. For us, Carlos is an old gray beard. He's got seven years of experience. I think we have seven guys with a total of only seven years experience. So he just comes in and calm things down. He's just been fantastic. He's been a fun guy to be around, fun guy to work with. I just enjoy those guys because they just like to play. They're griddy pros for years to years and they just like to hoop.”

On Toney Douglas' play off the bench:
“Toney has been fantastic for us. Toney just brings great energy. Toney hasn't been in the league a ton of times but he's a pro. He just goes about his business. He's scrappy, he gets up, he's defensive for us,




James Harden:

On the Lakers being shorthanded without Dwight Howard:
“They were shorthanded tonight, but they are still tough. (They have) one of the best players to have ever played the game and obviously a great point guard, shooters and things like that. We knew we couldn’t take them lightly. They did a great job in the first half of really getting easy shots on us. In the second half we started to pick it up defensively. We got out in transition and made some easy shots.”

On the play of Jeremy Lin in the second half:
“He opened the floor for everybody. Him (Jeremy Lin) making plays getting to the basket and getting and ones, they (Lakers) have to key up on him and clog the lane and that’s when you make the extra pass. As long as he continues to be aggressive, we have a better chance of winning.”




Carlos Delfino:

On how he feels playing against Kobe Bryant:
“I watched Kobe a lot when I was a kid. Even from here in this locker room, looking ahead it’s crazy. Every time we have a chance to play against a great player, it’s a great challenge, you are learning. Its excellent motivation. So every time we play the U.S. Team, every time we play against the Lakers it's just a great challenge and it’s nice. Just playing against maybe one of the best 2 or 3 players ever.”

On his shooting:
“I always see the basket as it’s really big. Sometimes the shots do not go in but I don't think about that. Right now we're having fun, we're passing the ball, the guys are looking for me and the ball is going in. Especially for a guy like me, when you get on the court and you hit the first and second, everything is more easier. It’s just about the guys from the team. We have just been playing great together, sharing the ball, moving the ball and playing great, that's wonderful.”




Jeremy Lin:

On the Rockets team chemistry:
“One of our strengths as a team is we have a lot of explosive scorers and explosive players. Not everyone is getting the minutes they are capable of, but every night it’s somebody different. We’ve had Greg (Greg Smith), Pat (Patrick Patterson), Toney (Toney Douglas), and Carlos (Carlos Delfino) coming off the bench with big games. That’s one thing that we try to cater to, it’s just getting everybody involved, getting the ball zipping around and just to see whose night it will be.”

On the Rockets slow start in the first quarter:
“It is us trying to maintain energy throughout the whole 48 minutes and I think that our starts are something that we should look at.”




Chandler Parsons:

On the Lakers being a different team without Dwight Howard:
“We emphasized going inside. We wanted to attack the paint and I know I was trying to get to the rim more just knowing they didn’t have many shot blockers in there. They are still a talented team and every time one of your best players goes down, other guys have an opportunity to step up. They’ve got talented guys across the floor.”

On the Rockets coming from behind tonight:
“It’s not a positive thing. We can’t keep getting down to big leads and having to fight our way back in. Some teams won’t allow that. It shows resiliency and it shows that we will never give up, but it is something that we have to work on. It seems to happen every time we play the Lakers.”

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LAKERS-ROCKETS PREVIEW

By ALAN FERGUSON

Posted Jan 07 2013 9:58PM

If this season hasn't already been trying enough, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered another big blow entering this week.

The slumping Lakers won't have frontcourt players Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill for a difficult two-game road trip that begins Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, who will seek a season high-tying fifth straight win.

Los Angeles entered this season as one of the favorites for the franchise's third title in five seasons, but the Lakers (15-18) and their new players have never seemed to click. The team got to .500 after a five-game win streak last month but is 1-4 in its last five and is one shy of tying its season-high four-game skid from Dec. 7-13.

Los Angeles' chances of ending that losing streak don't appear promising with its recent injuries.

Howard, a six-time All-Star acquired from Orlando in the offseason, tore the labrum in his right shoulder Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers and re-aggravated it while matching a career high with 26 rebounds in a 112-105 loss to Denver on Sunday. He's expected to sit out a week before being re-evaluated.

Gasol, a four-time All-Star, suffered a concussion when he took an elbow in the face during Sunday's loss, and his backup, Hill, has an injured right hip. Both players are out indefinitely.

The Lakers will likely bring up 7-footer Robert Sacre, the last player taken in this year's draft, from the D-League to start at center. Metta World Peace, who is 6-7, might also be used at that spot.

With that patchwork frontcourt, Los Angeles will have to face the Rockets (20-14) and Southwest Division-leading San Antonio in back-to-back road games. It's unknown if the Lakers will have those players back for a four-game homestand that starts against Oklahoma City on Friday and ends against Miami on Jan. 17.

"The NBA is unforgiving, and nobody is feeling sorry for us," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There's 29 other teams that are happy, and we've got to do the best we can do."

The Rockets will try to take advantage of the short-handed Lakers to match their five-game win streak from Dec. 17-26. Houston will also seek its seventh win in eight home games and its fourth in a row at the Toyota Center against Los Angeles.

"They're still a great team no matter what their record is," said James Harden, who is among the NBA leaders with 26.4 points per game. "It's going to be a tough matchup for us."

The Rockets, winners in three of four overall in the series, rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 107-105 home win over the Lakers on Dec. 4 despite Harden missing 16 of 19 shots.

Harden finished with 15 in that victory but has topped 20 in each of the 16 ensuing games and has 25 or more in 12 consecutive contests, one shy of tying Moses Malone's team record from Dec. 26-Feb. 23, 1982. He had 29 points in a 112-104 win over Cleveland on Saturday, including 16 in the final quarter and the game's final six points.

The Rockets, among the NBA's highest scoring teams with 106.2 points per game, have averaged 113.5 during their win streak.

Harden has topped 20 points only once in 23 career matchups with the Lakers, including two postseason series, and had 20 in a 119-108 road loss Nov. 18. Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, and Kobe Bryant had 22 points and a season-high 11 assists.

Bryant has scored at least 27 points in 17 games since the beginning of December and had 39 in the loss in Houston.

Lakers point guard Steve Nash is five assists shy of becoming the fifth player with 10,000.


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    
  #24 Bryant SF #25 Parsons  
  #15 World PeacePF #2 Morris  
  #50 Sacre C #3 Asik  
  #1 Morris SG #13 Harden  
  #10 Nash PG #7 Lin  



Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(concussion) is out.
Jordan Hill
(right hip injury/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is out.
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Rockets Chandler Parsons
(sick) is out.
Royce White
(suspended) is out.
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11/18 - HOU 108 @ LAL 119
12/04 - LAL 105 @ HOU 107
01/08 - LAL @ HOU
04/17 - HOU @ LAL
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