Lakers snap skid thanks to LeBron James' triple-double vs Rockets | Inquirer Sports
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Lakers snap skid thanks to LeBron James’ triple-double vs Rockets

/ 02:19 PM December 29, 2021
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James posted a 30-point triple-double and paced four 20-point scorers for the Los Angeles Lakers, who snapped a five-game skid with a 132-123 road win over the Houston Rockets Tuesday at Toyota Center.

James finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his third triple-double but had ample support. Russell Westbrook chipped in his seventh triple-double (24 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) while Malik Monk added 25 points and Carmelo Anthony 24 off the Lakers bench.

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A white-knuckle fourth quarter pivoted when the Lakers won a challenge of a goaltending call against James with 2:38 left. Instead of falling behind 118-117, the Lakers maintained their one-point lead and added to it when Anthony buried a corner 3-pointer off a Westbrook assist.

Westbrook added an offensive rebound that yielded two James free throws and then added two more assists down the stretch, both times feeding James for points at the rim to cap the victory.

Rookie guard Jalen Green scored 14 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, who dropped their fifth consecutive game. Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood scored 22 apiece for the Rockets, who were outrebounded 48-30 and fell despite shooting 53 percent overall.

Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (0) dribbles the ball as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Dec 28, 2021;

Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (0) dribbles the ball as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When David Nwaba followed a block of Anthony on defense with a layup on the offensive end, the Rockets completed their comeback from a nine-point deficit and led 85-84 at the 4:03 mark of the third quarter. The period featured four ties and four lead changes, but after Josh Christopher pulled the Rockets even with a driving layup with 34.2 seconds left, the Lakers responded with a Stanley Johnson layup and a Westbrook 3-pointer just prior to the buzzer.

James authored a dominating first period after making the start at center. He logged the opening 10 minutes of the frame, scored 13 points via a blend of 3-pointers and fadeaways and bully post moves, and added a pair of rebounds plus an assist. Anthony and Monk combined for 15 points in the Lakers’ 34-point quarter, but it was James who served as their offensive linchpin.

Thanks to James’ stellar play, Houston led by just one point entering the second. Porter and Wood combined for 16 points in the first with Porter adding four assists in a frenetic start. His energy following a 12-game absence was palpable, and the Rockets fed off it. Green threw down a pair of ferocious alley-oop dunks, the first off a feed from Porter that fueled the partisan crowd.

But the Lakers carried a 67-59 lead into the break, in part because they attacked when transition opportunities were available (12 fast-break points) and also by virtue of their 9-for-21 3-point shooting. James had 18 points at the half, but three other Lakers joined him in double figures.

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