x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

NBA: Rockets blast back to record win over struggling Lakers

James Harden and Jeremy Lin inflicted further woe on the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Lakers as Houston recovered from a 14-point deficit to run out winners.

Houston's James Harden drives against Darius Morris of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Houston's James Harden drives against Darius Morris of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Houston Rockets handed the struggling Los Angeles Lakers their fourth straight defeat after coming from behind to record a 125-112 win.

James Harden scored 31 points and Chandler Parsons 20 as the Rockets notched up their fifth win in a row, despite being 14 points behind in the first half.

Injury-hit Los Angeles saw Metta World Peace hit a season-high 24 points, while Steve Nash became only the fifth player in NBA history to record more than 10,000 career assists.

But their efforts were not enough, as Harden, Parsons and Jeremy Lin inspired the Rockets to victory.

"They were short-handed tonight, but they are still tough," Harden said afterwards.

"We knew we couldn't take them lightly. They did a great job in the first half of really getting easy shots on us. In the second half we started to pick it up defensively. We got out in transition and made some easy shots."

Seven-foot rookie centre Robert Sacre made his first career start or the Lakers due to the side's injury crisis, and finished with 10 points, four blocked shots and three rebounds.

"Tonight we could offer up a number of excuses, but what is troubling is when we were healthy, we weren't stopping people, either," Nash said afterwards.

The Minnesota Timberwolves coped with the absence of Rick Adelman, their head coach, and All Star forward Kevin Love to beat Atlanta 108-103 on Tuesday, ending a near seven-year winless run against the Hawks.

Timberwolves coach Adelman missed the game for personal reasons, while Love is out indefinitely after reinsuring his right hand last week, but the home team still had enough beat the Hawks for the first time since April 2006.

Nikola Pekovic scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds, Andrei Kirilenko added 21 for Minnesota, who had lost 11 straight to the Hawks before the game.

"We were really motivated," Pekovic told reporters. "I think everyone wants to step up and show more."

Minnesota led 100-89 with four minutes remaining but Atlanta managed to cut the deficit to one in the final minute. Minnesota's Dante Cunningham made a crucial jump shot with 15 seconds left and the Timberwolves added free throws to put the game away."If this doesn't change there's going to have to be some changes, that's plain and simple," said Larry Drew, the Hawks coach.

"(To) come out and not be energised to play, that's totally unacceptable."

The Indiana Pacers defence were in top form as they kept the Miami Heat to their lowest score of the season in their 87-77 victory.

Paul George put up 29 points - nine of which came from three pointers - and 11 rebounds for the Pacers who moved to 22-14 after winning 11 of their last 13 matches.

David West added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson chipped in with 13 points, while Dwyane Wade scored 30 points and James had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat who despite the loss have the best record in the Eastern Conference with 23-11.

Jim Boylan's first match in charge of the Milwaukee Bucks ended in victory as they beat the Phoenix Suns 108-99.

Boylan had only been the coach for a day after the Bucks parted ways with Scott Skiles on Monday but saw Brandon Jennings score 29 points as Milwaukee took advantage of the Suns poor recent form, with Alvin Gentry's side losing nine of their last 10.

Goran Dragic scored 21 points and Jared Dudley added 18 for Phoenix who are now 12-24

Elsewhere, Interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo picked up his sixth victory as Brooklyn Nets beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-89. Reggie Evans registered a career-high 23 rebounds, while Deron Williams scored 22 points


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