In a matchup between teams going in opposite direction, Jeremy Lin ’10 and the Rockets won their fifth straight game, 125-112, over the Los Angeles Lakers—dealing the Kobe Bryant-led squad its fourth straight loss. After recording only three points in the first half, Lin poured in 16 during the third and fourth quarters as the Rockets outscored the Lakers 66-50 in the second half. It was the third straight game that the Rockets overcame a double-digit deficit.
The Rockets rank first in the NBA in points per game and feature an MVP candidate in shooting guard James Harden but allowed the Lakers to score 62 points in the first half. However, Carlos Delfino’s four three pointers in the first half kept the score close and the team trailed by only three points at the break. In the third quarter, the Rockets outscored the Lakers by 12 points and Lin added nine points and three assists.
The Rockets are 14-6 at home on the season and have won 10 of their last 12 contests, with Harden scoring over 25 points in each game. They are within two games of the Golden State Warriors for fifth in the Western Conference, while the loss dropped the Lakers four games out of a playoff spot.
In the second quarter, Lakers point guard Steve Nash recorded his 10,000th assist, a small consolation in wake of the team’s fourth straight loss to a playoff teamfrom last year. On the heels of a 5-1 stretch that represented its best run of the season, the team lost All-Stars Dwight Howard (torn labrum) and Pau Gasol (concussion) indefinitely and while Gasol was home seeing a doctor, Howard nursed his injury on the bench in street clothes.
Lin finished an efficient 7-of-13 from the field en route to his 19 points, mixing driving layups with pull-up three pointers on the break. In the first half, Lin played more off the ball and set screens for Carlos Delfino, who hit five three-pointers in the game. Lin and backcourt mate Harden combined for 50 points, 14 assists, and 12 rebounds on the day.