Porter scores 27 points, Rockets beat short-handed Lakers
HOUSTON (AP) — Kevin Porter Jr. scored 27 points and the Houston Rockets beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-110 on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles scored five points, with a 3-pointer from Rui Hachimura, to get within four early in the fourth quarter. The Rockets countered with an 8-0 run, with the first five points from rookie Jabari Smith Jr., to push it to 96-83.
The Rockets were up by eight with 7.2 seconds to go before Malik Beasley hit a 3 for the Lakers to cut the lead to 114-109. Austin Reaves then got a steal and Porter fouled him with 0.3 seconds remaining. It was ruled a Flagrant-1 foul after a review, but Reaves made just 1 of 2 free throws and Houston held on.
It’s the second straight victory for the Western Conference-worst Rockets, who beat Boston on Monday night.
Already without LeBron James because of an injury, the Lakers were also missing Anthony Davis against Houston. Davis, who had 35 points and 17 rebounds in a win over New Orleans on Tuesday night, isn’t playing both games of back-to-back per doctors’ orders after coming back from a right foot injury.
Reaves had 24 points off the bench and D’Angelo Russell added 18 as the Lakers lost for the second time in three games as they fight to stay in line for one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference.
Porter had 18 points before halftime despite missing the last two minutes of the second quarter after sustaining a cut about his left eye. He was bleeding profusely as he held a towel to the cut as he walked to the locker room. He returned to start the third quarter with a band-aid covering the cut.
Houston took advantage of the absence of Davis to dominate in the paint where the team outscored the Lakers 78-46.
The Rockets led by as many as 18 in the first half and had a 62-48 lead at halftime. That deficit came a night after Los Angeles led 75-40 at halftime after making a franchise-record 15 3-pointers in the first two quarters.
The Lakers used a 9-2 run to get within 79-74 with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Troy Brown Jr. made the first five points in that stretch and Wenyen Gabriel capped it with a basket.
But the Los Angeles offense went cold after that and didn’t score for the rest of the quarter as Houston got baskets from Jae’Sean Tate and Jalen Green to lead 83-74 after three.
Lakers: James was out for the ninth straight game with a right foot injury. Mo Bamba missed a fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Beasley had 16 points. ... Jarred Vanderbilt added 13 points with 11 rebounds. ... Gabriel had a career-high 15 rebounds.
Rockets: Alperen Sengun had 13 points and nine rebounds in his return after sitting out Monday night with a groin injury. … Kenyon Martin Jr. had 16 points and eight rebounds. ... Green scored 11 points.
Lakers: Host Dallas on Friday night.
Rockets: Host New Orleans on Friday and Sunday nights. ___ AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press