LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Kyle Kuzma led the offensive charge as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped the red-hot Houston Rockets’ 14-game winning streak with a 122-116 upset victory on Wednesday.
Kuzma scored a NBA career-high 38 points as the Lakers dominated the Rockets early then held on through a mid-game Houston rally to claim the win and end their own three-game losing skid.
“I scored 30 in the summer league,” Kuzma said. “This is a better team but the same mentality. I’ve got the same mentality every time I step on the court, play my hardest and just be locked in.”
The loss spoiled a 51-point scoring performance by Rockets star James Harden, who also added nine assists.
The Rockets dropped to 25-5 on the season and also lost for the first time with guard Chris Paul in their lineup.
Paul departed early in the fourth quarter with a sore left leg and did not return after scoring eight points in 25 minutes.
The Lakers improved to 11-18 on the season with Kuzma scoring 24 of his 38 points in the first half on nine-of-nine shooting.
Los Angeles shot 47.1 percent overall and, after entering the game dead last in the NBA in three-point percentage, nailed 15 of 35 attempts from beyond the arc to keep the Rockets in check.
The Lakers played without starters Brook Lopez (ankle) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (personal reasons).
Kuzma got plenty of offensive help as a half dozen Lakers finished in double-digit scoring, including reserve forward Corey Brewer who had a season-high 21 points.
Brewer was shipped by the Rockets to Los Angeles at the trading deadline last February.
Brewer sparked the decisive run with a nifty layup at the 7:04 mark of the fourth quarter to break a 100-100 tie.
The Lakers stretched that lead to 10 points before the Rockets could muster a reply that fell short.
Rookie guard Lonzo Ball added 16 points and nine rebounds while Larry Nance and Brandon Ingram scored 13 apiece for the Lakers.