Anthony Davis led an impressive all-around effort from the Los Angeles Lakers as they defeated the Houston Rockets, 120-102, to remain undefeated in five road games this season.
The Laker defense was excellent right out of the gate, stringing together several consecutive spots and forcing five turnovers. Davis, back from a one-game absence, made his presence felt on both ends by making his first four shots.
James Harden got going attacking the rim for layups and free throws while a pair of DeMarcus Cousins threes cut the Los Angeles lead to six. Markieff Morris was ejected from the game after an altercation with Cousins, and a sloppy close in the final minute only had the Lakers up 25-21.
Cousins later drew a flagrant foul and was ejected from the game after hitting LeBron James in the head, sparking a 9-0 run that pushed the Lakers’ lead back to 10. The chippy play continued as PJ Tucker and John Wall picked up technical fouls for complaining about fouls, allowing the Lakers to hold onto the momentum.
Off every missed Houston shot, L.A. was able to leak out in transition and went on a 14-2 run in the process. James and Davis dominated in the final minutes of the second and the purple and gold went into the half up 65-46.
The Lakers picked up where they left off in the first half, suffocating the Rockets on defense and getting out on the break to extend their lead to as much as 29. However, Christian Wood was able to get going from the field and Houston went on a 16-2 run to get back into the game.
Los Angeles endured a scouring drought as they began to settle for too many jumpers, particularly James who had no lanes to attack the paint. However, Talen Horton-Tucker got them out of their rut with a couple of defensive plays and a slam, but L.A. went into the fourth only up 88-75.
Dennis Schroder was a defensive boost as he drew a charge on John Wall and later stripped him to get Kyle Kuzma a layup. Montrezl Harrell also took advantage of his size in the post, giving L.A. more breathing room.
Harrell went on to abuse the undersized Houston frontcourt to help keep the Lakers ahead down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
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