(UPDATED) The Los Angeles Lakers buckled down defensively in the second half to overcome the Houston Rockets, 112-102, in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series.
LeBron James kept the Lakers in the game in the first half, where he scored 29 points, but it was their defensive effort in the final two quarters that turned the game in their favor.
The Lakers' victory, Tuesday, at the Walt Disney World Complex, gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
James finished with 36 points, making 13 of his 23 shots from the field, along with seven rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. Anthony Davis, who earlier in the day was named to the All-Defensive Team, had 26 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists.
Rajon Rondo had another solid performance as well, putting up 21 points including three triples, along with nine assists and a steal.
Despite a big first half from James, the Lakers trailed, 64-61, at the break. Russell Westbrook, who struggled in Game 2, came alive with 17 points in the first half after making eight of his 12 field goals.
The Lakers limited the Rockets to just 18 points in the third quarter, however, to knot the count at 82 heading into the payoff frame.
It was all LA in the fourth period. Rondo assisted on a James layup to put the Lakers ahead for good, 86-85, then he added a triple in the next possession to stretch the lead to four points.
The Lakers eventually led by 12 points in the quarter, which saw them outscore Houston, 30-20. Rondo was superb in the fourth, with 12 points and five assists to orchestrate the Lakers' breakaway.
James Harden led Houston with a near-triple double of 33 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, while Westbrook finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
After going eight-of-12 in the first half, however, Westbrook was just five-of-12 the rest of the way.