The Los Angeles Lakers dominated most of the night in their matchup against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night en route to a 95-85 win.
With Dwight Howard ruled out with neck stiffness, head coach Frank Vogel went smaller with Anthony Davis at center and he scored the Lakers’ first points of the game on a putback. Houston was briefly ahead, but Los Angeles’ small-ball group started to go to work as the extra spacing allowed for more open shots which led to a 13-5 lead.
Carmelo Anthony picked up where he left off from the last game as he nailed his first 3-point attempt off the bench, while Davis came up with a steal and slam to extend the lead to 11. Anthony knocked in another pair of threes on wide-open looks and Los Angeles walked into the second leading 27-15.
Anthony remained hot from the field to begin the quarter as he hit a patented pull-up then followed it up with a four-point play, though he could not convert the free throw. LeBron James excited the crowd with a fastbreak reverse slam, then DeAndre Jordan flushed one of his own off a well-designed pick-and-roll.
The Laker offense stalled out a bit midway through the period, but Russell Westbrook nailed a corner three to push their lead to 22. Defensively L.A. made it difficult for Houston to score and they went into the half up 54-35.
It was a slower start to the third for the Lakers as the Rockets were able chip away at the deficit, forcing an L.A. timeout. The team was able to rally quickly, attacking the basket and capitalizing on turnovers to retake a 19-point advantage.
With Houston struggling to take care of the basketball, Los Angeles was never threatened and maintained their large lead. The Lakers continued to play well on both ends and waltzed into the fourth leading 75-54.
Jordan was able to catch a couple of lobs from James and Westbrook, while Anthony buried another three to keep L.A. well out in front. However, the Rockets showed signs of life as they went on a run to get within relative striking distance.
Westbrook was able to slow down Houston’s run by finishing a tough layup through contact and Davis scored near the rim to give them more breathing room. The Lakers prevented the Rockets from any last-second spurts and would go home with a solid victory.
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