Thu, 23 Mar 2023

Kevin Porter Jr. (27 points), Rockets handle undermanned Lakers

Field Level Media
16 Mar 2023, 13:05 GMT+10

Kevin Porter Jr. scored a game-high 27 points to pace seven in double figures as the Houston Rockets defeated the visiting short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-110 on Wednesday.

Porter was 11-for-17 shooting from the floor and added nine rebounds and six assists to his ledger. All five Rockets starters scored in double figures while Jae'Sean Tate produced 13 points off the bench.

After making just 4-of-23 3-pointers entering the fourth, the Rockets found the perimeter touch at an opportune time. Jabari Smith Jr. nailed consecutive 3s to answer a Lakers run that cut the deficit to four, and Josh Christopher added another 3 that pushed the Houston lead to 96-83.

When Jalen Green drilled a corner 3 off a Porter feed, the Rockets extended to a 101-89 lead with 6:42 left. That cushion proved comfortable enough for a second consecutive home victory.

Smith finished with 18 points and six rebounds while Kenyon Martin Jr. tallied 16 points and eight boards. The Rockets produced 20 second-chance points and scored 72 in the paint.

The Lakers, playing without LeBron James (foot) and Anthony Davis (rest), shot just 37.4 percent. Austin Reeves scored a team-high 24 points off the bench while D'Angelo Russell paired 18 points with seven assists and Jarred Vanderbilt 13 points with 10 rebounds.

Early success on the offensive glass and in the paint paved the way for the Rockets to secure a double-digit lead by the close of the first quarter. Houston converted five offensive rebounds into six second-chance points in the opening period and shot 54.2 percent while posting 22 paint points.

The Lakers' offense was lagging as much as their interior defense. They shot just 32.6 percent before halftime and missed 15 of 19 3-pointers. Reeves provided a spark with 13 first-half points, and his alley-oop pass to Lonnie Walker IV slowed the Rockets' surge to a 16-point lead.

But Tate responded with a three-point play that pushed the Houston lead back to 52-36, and the Lakers needed a late 3 from Russell to slice the margin from 18 points to 62-48 at the break.

Porter had 18 points at the half and the Rockets received another 18 points from their bench. Houston shot a robust 68.6 percent from inside the arc and had 48 points in the paint by the intermission.

--Field Level Media

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