Both teams lived inside the paint to start the game, with the first 12 points between them coming right at the rim. The Lakers made a small run to create some separation, but the Rockets responded to make it an 18-16 game midway through the period.
Stanley Johnson provided some rare offense as he got a couple of jumpers to go down, while Carmelo Anthony Checked in and immediately nailed one of his own to give Los Angeles a six-point lead. D.J. Augustin helped carry the scoring burden off the bench, and despite some lackadaisical defense to end the quarter, the Lakers went into the second ahead 38-32.
Houston warmed up from the field in a hurry, hitting nearly all their jump shots to tie things at 45-45. Unfortunately, Los Angeles went through another scoring drought as they failed to find many good looks and found themselves trailing 53-48.
An Austin Reaves 3-pointer helped snap their lackluster shooting streak, but the Rockets’ collective speed and athleticism seemed to give them issues defensively. Reaves was able to hit another shot at the buzzer, but the Lakers would go into halftime down 68-63.
The Lakers got off to a hot start to begin the third as Malik Monk keyed a 12-2 run to make it a 75-75 game. James looked more spry on both ends, cleaning the defensive glass and finding teammates open in transition but the lack of perimeter defense saw them trailing once again.
James was able to get all the way to the rim for an easy layup, but the small-ball lineup had trouble containing Alperen Sengun in the post where simply scored over the top. Wenyen Gabriel made his Purple and Gold and provided some nice energy and Augustin managed to hit a tough offensive putback to give the Lakers a 98-97 lead going into the fourth.
Augustin remained hot from beyond the arc, knocking down his fourth triple of the night but the Lakers continued to struggle to string together stops. James began to take over offensively, forcing his way to the basket and overpowering the Rockets, but Jalen Green once again tied the game after a three.
James got a roar from the crowd after rumbling in the lane for a huge dunk, and Monk followed up with a flashy one of his own in transition. With the game tied in the final minutes, James came up with a huge block on Green but Antony missed the game-winning shot and the two teams went into overtime.
Green scored the overtime period’s first seven points, and Eric Gordon nailed a three to suddenly put the Lakers down 10. Los Angeles had zero answers for Houston’s hot shooting, and they have to live with yet another embarrassing loss.