Harden, Rockets handle Lakers

HOUSTON – Sure, the Los Angeles Lakers are short-handed. But a team with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace should play better than this.

James Harden scored 31 points and Chandler Parsons 20 to help the Houston Rockets pick up their fifth straight win with a 125-112 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night

Houston trailed by 14 points in the first half but used two runs in the third quarter to take the lead.

World Peace had a season-high 24 points for the Lakers, who were playing without their top three big men – Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill – who all are out with injuries.

Bryant added 20 points for the Lakers, and Nash had 16 points and 10 assists to become the fifth player to surpass 10,000 assists, joining John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson and Magic Johnson.

Nash said he tweaked his back in the game but that he was OK.

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