Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Sunday, November 18th
Rockets108Final
Lakers119
Game 2: Tuesday, December 4th
Lakers105Final
Rockets107
Game 3: Tuesday, January 8th
Lakers112Final
Rockets125
Game 4: Wednesday, April 17th
Rockets95Final
OT
Lakers99

Lakers 105

(8-10, 1-5 away)

Rockets 107

(9-8, 7-3 home)

8:00 PM ET, December 4, 2012

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 30 28 25 22105
HOU 22 23 28 34107

Top Performers

Los Angeles: K. Bryant 39 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Houston: G. Smith 21 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Blk

Lakers-Rockets Preview

STATS LLC

Kobe Bryant knows the Los Angeles Lakers need to improve in many areas.

Houston could be a difficult place to make those changes.

Bryant and the Lakers will try to climb back to .500 on Tuesday night when the Rockets seek their first six-game home winning streak in two seasons.

Still disappointed at a 113-103 loss to Orlando on Sunday that capped off the team's 1-2 homestand, Bryant provided a relatively simple solution for the Lakers' inconsistency.

"It's not rocket science, it's not solving world hunger, you just gotta go out there and do your job," he said a day after Los Angeles was outscored 40-26 in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers (8-9) are still trying to find their way under coach Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll system going 3-4 since he took for the fired Mike Brown but Bryant continues to do his job, leading the NBA with 27.6 points per game. Bryant said Pau Gasol needs to step up his game, especially with Steve Nash out indefinitely with a small fracture in his right leg, Steve Blake gone the next 6-to-8 weeks with a torn abdominal muscle, and the Lakers' bench among the worst in the league with 23.4 points per game.

Gasol is averaging 10.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting under D'Antoni.

"He might not be posting up as much as he'd like," said Bryant, 52 points shy of becoming the fifth in league history with 30,000. "But he just has to adjust. The reality is I've adjusted. I've never run this many screen and rolls in my entire life, but I've worked on it."

Dwight Howard needs to work on his free throw shooting. The six-time All-Star center is hitting a career-low 46.5 percent from the foul line after missing 12 of 21 on Sunday, including seven of his 14 fourth-quarter attempts.

"As a team, our effort wasn't there," Howard said.

The Lakers can't afford that against a Rockets team that's won four of five overall and going for its first six-game run at home since reeling off seven straight from March 14-April 3, 2011.

Houston (8-8) is averaging 113.0 points and shooting 49.9 percent including 45.5 percent from 3-point range -- during its home winning streak. All five starters have reached double figures in the last three at the Toyota Center, with the team totaling 78 assists during this stretch.

"There's a lot more balance, and I think the ball is moving," point guard Jeremy Lin said after handing out a team-best eight assists in Saturday's 124-116 win over Utah. "We're getting our bigs in a spot that they need to be to keep the floor spread. It's starting to look more and more dangerous."

Chandler Parsons and James Harden, the team leader with 24.1 points per game, are the Rockets' biggest threats from long range with 36 and 31 3-pointers, respectively, but Los Angeles' frontline needs to keep an eye on Patrick Patterson. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 23.0 points and has hit 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the last three games.

"Pat, the way he's shooting the ball, it's going to stretch out the defense so much. It's not going to allow teams to show as hard on pick-and-rolls and go and double James," Parsons told the Rockets' official website.

Parsons led Houston with 24 points and Harden added 20 in a 119-108 loss at the Lakers on Nov. 18 when Bryant countered with his 18th career triple-double with 22 points, 11 boards and 11 assists.

Houston has won 23 of 25 December home games.

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Research Notes

Pau Gasol is posting career lows in scoring (12.6) and field-goal percentage (42.0) this season. Gasol is averaging 34.8 minutes ; only Houston's Jeremy Lin is averaging fewer points (10.9) while averaging at least 34 minutes this season.
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Kobe Bryant needs 52 points tonight to reach 30,000 career points. FLASHBACK: The last time he scored at least 52 points in a game was Feb. 2, 2009, when he had 61 against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. That's his career high on the road and the most points scored at MSG by a visiting player.

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