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Lakers rout Rockets
Published on: Tuesday, January 12, 2021
By: AFP
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LeBron James (right) of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball ahead of James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
LOS ANGELES: Anthony Davis scored a game-high 27 points as the Los Angeles Lakers delivered a dominating all-around performance on Sunday with a crushing 120-102 defeat of the Houston Rockets in Texas.

The Lakers finally hit their stride in the new NBA season, running the Rockets ragged on offence and bottling up their top scorers on defence, especially three-time league scoring champion James Harden, who was held to 20 points and committed seven turnovers.

LeBron James scored 18 points as he and fellow all-star Davis had plenty of help from the bench. Talen Horton-Tucker (17 points), Montrezl Harrell (16) and Kyle Kuzma (13) all came off the bench to reach double figures for the Lakers, who are now a perfect 5-0 on the road to start the season.

The defending NBA champions scored a whopping 32 fast break points and 62 points in the paint, finally looking like the juggernaut team that many had envisioned at the start of the season. But where they really excelled Sunday was on defence, grabbing 39 defensive rebounds and forcing 13 steals.

“We’ve got to be a team who lead games with defence,” said Davis, who returned to the lineup Sunday after sitting out with a sore groin. 

“Tonight we made shots, but there are going to be nights when we don’t make shots and we can’t control that. 

“What we can control is how we play defence. The coach came in at halftime and said our defensive effort was off the charts.”

With both James (ankle) and Davis nursing nagging injuries, getting 54 points from their bench and holding the Rockets to just 46 points in the first half is good sign for the future. Davis also had three blocks.

“Our goal is to be the No. 1 defensive team in the league,” said James. “We came in with the mindset to get stops and get out and do what we do on offence. We able to those things on both sides.

Christian Wood paced the Rockets with 23 points while Harden also had nine assists. Houston shot just 12 for 41 from behind the arc. 



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