The Los Angeles Lakers held a lead that grew to as many as 17 points, but they were unable to close out the Houston Rockets in regulation and it cost them. Chris Paul took control in overtime, helping the Rockets end a five-game losing streak with an 148-142 victory.
The Lakers head into 2018 and the second of a back-to-back mired in a season-worst six-game losing streak. Paul made or assisted on a combined seven of the Rockets’ baskets in the two overtime periods.
Included in that was a go-ahead bucket over Kyle Kuzma with four seconds remaining in OT. However, the Rockets fouled Brandon Ingram on his drive, and the second-year forward knocked down both free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Paul’s deep look at a 3-pointer came up short, sending the game into a second overtime. Paul nearly gave the Rockets a lead in double OT, and though he missed, P.J. Tucker cleaned up the rebound for what proved to be the winning basket.
Tucker then stripped Kuzma on his 3-point attempt, forcing a turnover.
Julius Randle made a second consecutive start and made the most of hit by setting season highs with 29 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Additionally, it was Randle’s fourth 20-point game and second 20-and-10 game this season. Randle’s night came to an end with 2:55 remaining in overtime as he fouled out.
In what was also his second straight start and fourth in the past five games, Josh Hart set a career high with 26 points. He did so by shooting an efficient 9-for-13 from the field, including making four of seven attempts from behind the 3-point line.
Like Randle, Hart also fouled out, picking up his sixth with less than a minute remaining in double overtime.
Kyle Kuzma contributed with 23 points, five rebounds and two blocks, both of which came in the fourth quarter. Kuzma made a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, but also settled for an ill-advised deep ball at the end of regulation.
Pressed into starting duty, Tyler Ennis had 20 points and 11 assists. The assists were his most with the Lakers.
While he did not put up another 50-point performance against the Lakers, Harden finished with a game-high 40 points. He scored 17 of the those from the free throw line, but did miss four attempts.
Of more importance to the Rockets, Harden appeared to pull his hamstring on a drive to the basket late in the fourth quarter. He checked out with less than one minute remaining, walking gingerly off the court, and did not return.
In addition to Lonzo Ball (sprained left shoulder) and Brook Lopez (sprained right shoulder), the Lakers were also without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope because of his court-ordered travel restriction. Each of the aforementioned three players won’t suit up Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers’ 72 points in the first half against the Rockets were good for a season high.
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