Carmelo Anthony Scores 23 to Lead LeBron James, Lakers Past Rockets

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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Los Angeles Lakers might be finding their footing.

Los Angeles defeated the Houston Rockets 95-85 in Sunday’s Western Conference showdown at the Staples Center. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis and LeBron James led the way for the victors, who improved to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in their last five following their 0-2 start.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport


A solid showing from Christian Wood wasn’t enough for a Rockets team that is already falling down the standings at 1-5 with a fourth straight loss.

Notable Player Stats

  • Russell Westbrook, PG, LAL: 20 PTS, 9 AST, 8 REB
  • Carmelo Anthony, F, LAL: 23 PTS, 4 BLK, 3 REB, 2 STL
  • LeBron James, F, LAL: 15 PTS, 8 AST, 7 REB, 4 STL
  • Anthony Davis, F, LAL: 16 PTS, 13 REB
  • Christian Wood, C, HOU: 16 PTS, 13 REB

Defense Sets Tone for Lakers in Win

While the Lakers will win plenty of games this season with their Big Three of James, Davis and Westbrook dominating on the offensive side, they also set the tone defensively on Sunday.

Los Angeles swarmed to outside shooters while holding Houston to a 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) mark from downtown. It also jumped into passing lanes and cut off penetration while forcing 25 turnovers, four of which came from No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green.

It was clear the Purple and Gold emphasized slowing the highly regarded rookie because they held him to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting while contesting his looks and forcing the ball out of his hands at times.


🚨 21-4 Rockets run! 🚨@HoustonRockets 77@Lakers 88

3:30 left:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

〰️ to 👑

(📺: @SpectrumSN)

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Held on long enough 😅

(📺: @SpectrumSN)

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Rock ’em to sleep 💤

(📺: @SpectrumSN)

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers


Eric Gordon and Kevin Porter Jr. were able to take advantage of the additional space created by some of the attention Green drew, especially during the Rockets’ fourth-quarter charge. Houston scored 31 points after tallying a combined 54 points through the first three quarters.

Houston’s late run was not enough to come away with a win, though, thanks to the Lakers’ early defense.

It helped that Anthony provided a critical spark off the bench with his red-hot shooting from beyond the arc. Yet even Anthony, who has been known as a scorer and not much else throughout much of his career, got in on the defensive act with four blocks.

Throw in Westbrook limiting his turnovers, facilitating and crashing the boards, and the Lakers were able to overcome a 6-of-19 shooting night from James.

The ability to win in different ways and not necessarily rely on a 36-year-old LeBron to carry the offense every single night will be key for Los Angeles as it attempts to keep him fresh for a potential postseason run. 

It did just that Sunday.                   

What’s Next?

These two teams play again in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

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