Lakers Now

Lakers' hot start goes to waste in 112-95 loss to the Houston Rockets

After a competitive first half, the Lakers fell to the Houston Rockets, 112-95, on Sunday night at Staples Center.

James Harden, who helped put the Lakers away during a 34-18 third quarter, led all scorers with 31 points. The All-Star guard wasn't needed in the fourth.

Kobe Bryant played through a sore Achilles' tendon to hand out nine assists, seven in the first quarter, when the Lakers opened a 36-32 lead. The veteran also scored five points but turned the ball over four times in 24 minutes.

Julius Randle returned to the Lakers' starting lineup with Larry Nance Jr. sidelined because of a sore knee. In 26 minutes, Randle tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Former Lakers center Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Rockets backup center Clint Capela also reached double figures in points (14) and rebounds (11).

Trevor Ariza scored 13, Ty Lawson 12 and both Marcus Thornton and Montrezl Harrell added 10 for Houston.

The Rockets shot 48.4% from the field, 28.6% (six of 21) from three-point range and 75% (18 of 24) from the line. After a blistering first quarter, shooting 73.7% from the field, the Lakers cooled to 45.1%, 37.5% (six of 16) and 78.9% (15 of 19), respectively.

Lou Williams was the Lakers' leading scorer with 20 points. Jordan Clarkson added 16, D'Angelo Russell 12 and Anthony Brown 10.

With the loss, the Lakers dropped their third game in a row, and third to Houston this season.

The Lakers (9-34) are off until Wednesday, when they'll host the Sacramento Kings (17-23). The Rockets (22-20) play again on Monday, visiting the Clippers (26-14).

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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