The Lakers competed for a half at Staples Center on Tuesday night, long enough for Steve Nash to pass Mark Jackson on the NBA's all-time assists list, but the Houston Rockets demolished the Lakers in the second half, 145-130.
Nash climbed to 10,335, third on the list behind John Stockton (15,806) and Jason Kidd (12,091).
The Lakers (25-53) also locked in the worst record since the franchise move to Los Angeles -- behind the 1974-75 squad that won just 30. Even if the Lakers pulled out wins in their four final matchups, they'd end the season at 29-53.
Houston scored 49 points in the third quarter, giving the Lakers a quick knockout punch. Terrence Jones and James Harden both scored 33 points apiece. Harden added 12 assists.
Center Omer Asik, starting for the injured Dwight Howard (ankle), had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Chandler Parsons scored 19 with eight assists. The Rockets were also without Patrick Beverley (knee).
The Lakers celebrated Nash's accomplishment after a solid first half, but the defense completely collapsed in the third quarter.
Nick Young led the Lakers with 32 points off the bench. Jodie Meeks added 30 with six assists.
Jordan Farmar, who returned from a groin injury, contributed 15 points and eight assists off the bench. Nash played 13 minutes, scoring three with five assists.
Ryan Kelly contributed 18 points, Jordan Hill scored 12 and Wesley Johnson 11.
The Lakers shot 46.3% from the field, but allowed Houston to shoot 57.7%, including 42.3% from three-point range (11-26). The Lakers hit 14 of 32 from behind the arc (43.8%), but offense wasn't exactly the issue against the Rockets.
Pau Gasol (vertigo), Kobe Bryant (knee), Xavier Henry (knee, wrist), Chris Kaman (calf) and Kent Bazemore (foot) all sat out.
The Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors (48-29) on Friday. The Rockets (52-25) travel to Denver to play the Nuggets (33-44) on Wednesday.
Rockets 115, Lakers 90 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers quickly fell behind the Rockets in the third quarter, in a big way. Houston out-scored the Lakers, 28-10, through six minutes to go up by 23 points.
The Rockets led by as many as 28, scoring 49 points in the period.
Terrence Jones continued to give the Lakers problems, scoring 33 points in 32 1/2 minutes. James Harden matched him at 33, along with 12 assists.
The Lakers were led by Jodie Meeks with 20 points. Nick Young added 18, Ryan Kelly 14 and Jordan Farmar 13. The Lakers shot 42.9% from the field and 40.9% from three-point range.
Houston shot 60.06% and 45.5% (10-22), hitting seven three-pointers in 10 tries after converting just 3-12 ( 25.0%) in the first half.
Rockets 66, Lakers 61 (halftime)
Steve Nash overtook Mark Jackson for third place on the NBA's all-time assists list, pulling ahead with 10,335 on a pass in transition to Jodie Meeks for a dunk.
The Lakers finished the half down five as Houston's' Terrence Jones scored 23 points in 22 minutes on 9-of-12 shooting. James Harden added 15 and Chandler Parsons 11 for the Rockets, who shot 53.2% from the field in the half.
Meeks led the Lakers with 16 points. Jordan Farmar added 11 off the bench while Ryan Kelly scored 10. The Lakers shot 41.7% from the field, but kept relatively close with seven three-pointers on 16 tries (43.8%).
Rockets 35, Lakers 26 (end of first quarter)
Even without Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets had a relatively easy time in the first quarter against the Lakers.
Terrence Jones scored a quick 10 points to help the Rockets go up by 12 early. James Harden added 11 along with three assists as Houston shot 53.8% from the field, with just one turnover.
The Lakers got seven points from Ryan Kelly as the team shot 40.9%. Jordan Farmar returned from a groin injury to score five points. Nick Young also had five.
Steve Nash played 2 1/2 minutes, dishing an assist to Wesley Johnson, climbing three shy (10,331) of Mark Jackson (10,334) on the NBA's all-time assist list.
The Lakers (25-52) host the Houston Rockets (51-25) on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
While Houston has clinched a postseason berth, its still fighting for playoff position.
Jordan Farmar (groin) recently insisted he'd play Tuesday. Steve Nash (back) is consistently day-to-day, but should be available as well. Pau Gasol (vertigo), Chris Kaman (calf), Kobe Bryant (knee), Xavier Henry (knee, wrist) and Kent Bazemore (foot) are all out.
Dwight Howard isn't expected to play because of an ankle injury.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Rockets