Rockets pull off double-OT win over Lakers, Harden leaves injured
The Houston Rockets overcame the Los Angeles Lakers in a New Year's Eve thriller in the NBA on Sunday.
After going into double overtime, the Rockets (26-9) walked away with a thrilling 148-142 win over the Lakers (11-24), and it all came down to the final seconds.
Both teams entered the game looking to end five-game losing streaks, and the Rockets were able to snap their skid. Ironically, Houston's losing streak began with a loss to the Lakers on December 20.
When it came down to it, the Rockets played both overtimes without their biggest star. Late in the fourth quarter, James Harden drove in for a layup and came up limping with only 54 seconds left. Harden did not return to the game and it was later reported that he strained his left hamstring. Harden ended the night with 40 points and 11 assists.
Chris Paul took over offensively after Harden left. In the two overtimes alone, he recorded 15 points and three assists to key Houston's victory. He finished the night with 28 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
For the Lakers, who were without three starters (Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), Julius Randle came up huge with season-highs of 29 points and 15 rebounds. He made a statement early in the game, hitting six of his first eight shots and grabbing 10 rebounds by half-time.
Three other Lakers scored 20-plus points: Josh Hart (26), Kyle Kuzma (23), and Tyler Ennis (20).
The Lakers had a seven-point lead at half-time and with six minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, they led by 17 points. But the Rockets rallied to force overtime.
From there it was a back-and-forth shootout until the Rockets sealed the win in the second overtime with Paul making two free throws with three seconds remaining for the final margin.
LOU WILLIAMS LEADS CLIPPERS
Lou Williams was responsible for more than half his team's points in the Clippers' 106-98 win over the Hornets. The veteran guard tallied 40 points with eight assists, and even more impressive than that, he came off the bench.
The Wizards just barely pulled off a win against the Bulls (114-110) and they have Bradley Beal to thank for that. Washington relied on Beal down the stretch as he scored 17 points in the fourth quarter alone. He finished the game with 39 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.
Russell Westbrook put up 38 points with 15 rebounds and 11 assists, but it was not enough as the Thunder lost to the Mavericks. He shot 17-of-28 from the field.
MARVIN WILLIAMS STRUGGLES IN HORNETS' LOSS
Marvin Williams really did not help the Hornets in their loss to the Clippers. While he started, he only played 17 minutes and did not score. He was 0-of-six shooting and missed all three attempts behind the arc.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons drives and dunks late in the fourth quarter. He gave Philadelphia 21 points with nine rebounds and six assists.
Washington Wizards 114-110 Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves 107-90 Indiana Pacers
Boston Celtics 108-105 Brooklyn Nets
Houston Rockets 148-142 Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers 106-98 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 116-113 Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies 114-96 Sacramento Kings
Philadelphia 76ers 123-110 Phoenix Suns
BUCKS AT RAPTORS
The Bucks will ring in the New Year in Toronto as they take on the Raptors for the first time this season. The Raptors, who are second in the Eastern Conference behind the Celtics, will look to start a new winning streak after losing two of their last three games. The Bucks won their last two against the Timberwolves and the Thunder.