Recap: LeBron James Scores 48 In Second Of Back-To-Back To Lead Lakers Past Rockets
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

After three disappointing losses in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers were presented with an opportunity to get back on track Monday night when they hosted the team with the NBA’s worst record in the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers did indeed use that as an opportunity to get right, beating the Rockets 138-132 to improve to 20-24 on the season.

After missing two straight games with a non-COVID illness, Patrick Beverley wasted no time going to work by draining a 3. And despite it being the second game of a back-to-back, LeBron James suited up and got off to a quick start with a triple of his own.

As has been the case a lot this season, Russell Westbrook and Wenyen Gabriel brought the Lakers so instant energy off the bench. Gabriel had a pair of early buckets while Westbrook got some rebounds and got out in transition for four points in the paint.

L.A. struggled to continue Alperen Sengun inside though as he had 11 early points, also drawing two fouls on Thomas Bryant. After Eric Gordon was fouled on a 3-point attempt to end the first quarter, the Lakers’ lead was 37-35.

The Lakers started to distance themselves from the last-place Rockets a bit to begin the second as Troy Brown Jr. hit a 3 and Gabriel completed a three-point play to extend the lead to double digits for the first time.

Sengun continued to do whatever he wanted inside though, including getting offensive rebounds and setting up his teammates to get the Rockets back in it. Sengun picked up his third foul late in the quarter on a three-point play by James though, heading to the bench. James ended the quarter with another dunk and the Lakers went into the halftime locker room leading 73-61.

James continued his hot streak into the third quarter, as did Sengun with both of them knocking down 3s. James even went at Sengun for a layup to extend L.A.’s lead to 95-81.

After a quiet first half, Jalen Green finally got going late in the third quarter with eight straight points for the Rockets. That helped cut the Lakers’ lead to 102-98 going into the final quarter.

That Houston run came with James on the bench, but he restored order to begin the fourth with a three-point play, another foul and a 3 to stretch the lead back to 13.

Nothing comes easy for this Lakers team though as they saw their lead cut to just three with five minutes left, forcing Darvin Ham to call timeout. Sengun continued to have his way with Bryant, blocking him and then finding Kenyon Martin Jr. for a dunk in transition.

Once again though, James came back in and restored order with a three-point play. The young, scrappy Rockets kept coming though as Martin and Jabari Smith Jr. both nailed 3s to get them back within three before LeBron responded with another bucket.

After a steal by Brown, Westbrook threw down a thunderous dunk in transition to get the crowd on their feet going into the final minute. James then banked in a midrange shot, closing out a victory that should’ve been a lot easier than it was.

James finished the night with an impressive 48 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the second of a back-to-back.

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