After a 2-2 road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers returned home and hosted the Houston Rockets on Saturday night in the third meeting between the two teams.
The Lakers got some reinforcements with Jarred Vanderbilt making his season debut and Rui Hachimura, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish all being available after missing time on the road trip. As a result, the Lakers were able to utilize their depth to cruise to a 107-97 victory, improving to 12-9 on the year.
Taurean Prince got the scoring started in this one with a corner triple although the Lakers were forced to take a quick timeout after Anthony Davis was elbowed in the face by Jalen Green. He was bleeding and needed to be attended to on the bench but wound up staying in the game.
The Lakers were careless with the ball early, however, while the Rockets were hot from the field to take a 13-5 lead. D’Angelo Russell helped the Lakers respond with a triple though and then LeBron James went right at Dillon Brooks to earn a three-point play.
After an 0-for-6 start offensively, Davis eventually got going with three straight buckets to tie the game at 23. The Rockets ended the quarter well though to take a 30-25 lead into the second.
James got going to begin the second with a pair of buckets and then Austin Reaves made up for his slow start offensively by getting to the free throw line and then finishing a dunk in transition to give the Lakers the lead.
That forced the Rockets to burn a timeout, although the Laker run continued from there with Russell finding a cutting Max Christie for a dunk and then James doing the same for Davis.
The Rockets began to lose their composure from there with Brooks and Ime Udoka both picking up technicals as the Lakers continued their run, stretching the lead to double digits. L.A.’s length defensively really popped off the screen, allowing them to get stops and get out in transition.
Reaves rattled off five more points to extend the lead to 58-40 before Fred VanVleet hit a much-needed triple for the Rockets. James got the crowd on their feet towards the end of the half with a ridiculous 360 layup, giving the Lakers a 60-44 halftime lead.
The Lakers started off the third quarter a little slow, similar to the start of the game, until Davis got them going again with a thunderous dunk. Prince then rattled off five straight to get the lead back to 17.
After the Rockets began to cut into the lead, Christie made his presence felt with a pair of 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater, to give the Lakers an 86-72 lead through three quarters.
Reddish had a nice sequence to begin the fourth, coming up with a steal and then completing a three-point play to keep the lead very comfortable. James then found Jaxson Hayes for an alley-oop, again putting the crowd on their feet and effectively putting the game out of reach as the Lakers would go on to cruise to victory.
Things got a little chippy late with a number of technical fouls being handed out, including one to Udoka, which was his second and resulted in an ejection.
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