Smith shines as Rockets rally to beat Lakers

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 05 2012 04:00 PM | Updated as of Dec 06 2012 12:00 AM

HOUSTON, Texas - Greg Smith scored 17 of his career-high 21 points in the second half Tuesday to help ignite a Houston rally that shot the Rockets to a 107-105 NBA victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Smith made 7-of-8 shots from the field and grabbed nine rebounds as the Rockets notched their fifth victory in six games.

Toney Douglas scored 22 points off the bench to help the Rockets overcome a poor shooting night from James Harden -- not to mention 39 points from Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

Harden finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but made just 3-of-19 from the field.

Dwight Howard scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who led by 13 in the fourth quarter but lost for the third time in their last four games.

As in a 113-103 loss to Orlando on Sunday, Howard had his troubles at the free throw line, but Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said he didn't consider taking Howard out in the fourth quarter as the Rockets were closing in -- and repeatedly fouling Howard to send him to the line.

"He's not the reason that our defense breaks down," D'Antoni said. "He's got to work through this. You take him out now,then what are you going to do, take him out all the time? It's not him that's causing the problem."

Despite the breakdowns -- the Lakers had 19 turnovers and surrendered 21 offensive rebounds -- D'Antoni insisted the Lakers weren't far from where they need to be to win.

"We're close, we're real close," he said. "But we've got some tightening up to do."

The Lakers were without point guard Steve Nash and power forward Pau Gasol. Nash is still recovering from a broken left leg, while Gasol sat out with tendinitis in his knees that has troubled him all season.

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