LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Houston Rockets take some good news — and perhaps some bad – into 2018 after snapping their five-game NBA losing streak with a 148-142 double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
James Harden scored 40 points but departed in the final minute of regulation with a hamstring injury.
Point guard Chris Paul scored 15 of his 28 points in the two overtime periods to carry Houston to a much-needed win on their home floor.
Paul played a part in four straight baskets in the first extra period, but Lakers forward Brandon Ingram made two free throws with eight-tenths of a second remaining to force the second.
In the second extra session, Paul made six free throws in the final minute and Houston took the lead for good on a second-chance basket by reserve forward P.J. Tucker – his only points in the contest.
Moments later Tucker swatted away a three-point attempt by the Lakers Kyle Kuzma.
Trevor Ariza scored 26 points for Houston, who trailed by as many as 17 points.
The sight of Harden limping off must have tempered the Rockets’ pleasure in snapping their skid.
Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said it was too early to speculate about the severity of Harden’s injury.
“I don’t think we’ll know until (Monday),” D’Antoni said. “I don’t think they’ll be able to assess it until (Monday) morning.”
In Los Angeles, Lou Williams came off the bench to score 40 points and propel the Clippers to a 106-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Williams scored 16 points in the first quarter as the Clippers seized the lead. But the Hornets held them to just 13 points in the second period while fashioning a 28-7 scoring run that put Charlotte up by as many as 14.
Charlotte led by 10 at the interval, but Blake Griffin scored 14 of his 25 points in a third quarter dominated 33-14 by Los Angeles.
While the Hornets remained within striking distance in the fourth, they never got the deficit below four points.