Greg Smith scored 17 of his career-high 21 points in the second half on Tuesday to help ignite a Houston rally that shot the Rockets to a 107-105 NBA victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Smith made seven-of-eight shots from the field and grabbed nine rebounds as the Rockets notched their fifth victory in six games.
Toney Douglas scored 22 points off the bench to help the Rockets overcome a poor shooting night from James Harden — not to mention 39 points from Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.
Harden finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but made just three-of-19 from the field.
Dwight Howard scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who led by 13 in the fourth quarter, but lost for the third time in their past four games.
As in a 113-103 loss to Orlando on Sunday, Howard had his troubles at the free-throw line, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he did not consider taking Howard out in the fourth quarter as the Rockets were closing in — and repeatedly fouling Howard to send him to the line.
“He’s not the reason that our defense breaks down,” D’Antoni said.
“He’s got to work through this. You take him out now, then what are you going to do, take him out all the time? It’s not him that’s causing the problem,” he added.
Despite the breakdowns — the Lakers had 19 turnovers and surrendered 21 offensive rebounds — D’Antoni insisted the Lakers were not far from where they need to be to win.
“We’re close, we’re real close, but we’ve got some tightening up to do,” he said.
The Lakers were without point guard Steve Nash and power forward Pau Gasol.
Nash is still recovering from a broken left leg, while Gasol sat out with tendinitis in both his knees that has troubled him all season.
THUNDER 117, NETS 111
In New York, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists, and Oklahoma City held off Brooklyn for their sixth straight victory.
Serge Ibaka added 18 points and Thabo Sefolosha 14 for the Thunder, who revved up the NBA’s No. 1 offense to surpass 100 points in a 10th straight game for the first time in 15 years.
The Thunder, who beat the Nets for the seventh straight time, let a 16-point lead shrink to two down the stretch, even as they shot 60.6 percent for the game.
Deron Williams scored a season-high 34 points for the Nets, who had their six-game home winning streak snapped.
PACERS 80, BULLS 76
In Chicago, Paul George scored 34 points, and Roy Hibbert added 10 points and 11 rebounds to help Indiana close its road trip at 3-1 with a win over Chicago.
The Bulls, who failed to win three straight for the first time this season, were able to keep David West, Indiana’s leading scorer, in check — but George picked up the slack.
George scored 10 points in the first quarter, highlighted by a thunderous dunk as George Hill’s three-point attempt bounced up off the back of the rim.
Nate Robinson scored 19 of the 25 points the Bulls got from their reserves.
Carlos Boozer notched his seventh double-double in nine games with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago.
In other play, it was:
‧ Grizzlies 108, Suns 98, OT
‧ Timberwolves 105, 76ers 88