The Houston Rockets (23-13) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (14-22) 113-99 on Wednesday night behind 38 points from James Harden.
The game's leading scorer torched the Lakers to the tune of 14-of-23 shooting from the field (8-of-11 from the free-throw line) on a night when the Rockets shot 45 percent from the field and just 25 percent from three. He also compiled five steals in the win.
After scoring 15 points in the first half, Harden exploded for 17 in the third quarter, a period in which the Rockets outscored the Lakers by 18 points.
The Lakers played an impressive opening 24 minutes and led by five at halftime, but they came out completely flat in the third quarter and squandered any chance of snapping their two-game losing streak.
L.A. has now lost three in a row and nine of its last 10.
Dwight Howard added 20 points (5-of-14 shooting, 10-of-24 from the line) and 13 rebounds against his former team while Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lin scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, on a night when the Rockets were without swingman Chandler Parsons.
Houston also outscored L.A. by 10 points in the paint, 56-46.
The Lakers were ultimately undone by 18 turnovers (and the 26 points Houston scored off of them) in addition to the team's lack of offensive execution in the second half.
Nick Young finished with a team-high 25 points (10-of-20 shooting) off the bench while Jodie Meeks scored 21 points in 35 minutes. Pau Gasol recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers will look to snap their losing streak on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers while the Rockets are set to an embark on a four-game road trip that kicks off on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.
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