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Lakers steamroll, show up Rockets for third straight win

Lakers steamroll, show up Rockets for third straight win

  • Rockets center Christian Wood tries to shoot around Lakers forward Anthony Davis during Tuesday’s game in Houston. Davis blocked five shots in the Lakers’ 117-100 win. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Lakers guard Dennis Schroder shoots as Rockets guard James Harden watches during the first half of Tuesday’s game in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

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  • Houston Rockets guard John Wall (1) drives on Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroeder (17) during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) watches his shot next to Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) has a shot blocked by Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) is fouled by Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) shoots over Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) has a shot blocked by Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) as Lakers guard Dennis Schroeder (17) defends during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against the Houston Rockets during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) falls as he tries to drive on Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroeder (17) passes the ball as he is defended by Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) dunks against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood reacts to a non-foul call during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) tries to grab a rebound from Los Angeles Lakers center Montrezl Harrell (15) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) and Lakers’ Dennis Schroeder, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Lakers forward LeBron James shoots over Rockets guard John Wall during the second quarter of Tuesday’s game in Houston. James had 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 117-100 victory. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives with the ball against Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) reacts after a play against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Jan 12, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) attempts to control the ball against Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroeder (17) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

  • Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts to a call during the team’s NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers center Montrezl Harrell (15) shoots during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) hits a 3-point shot over Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) loses the ball as he is defended by Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroeder (17) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Houston. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

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If the court were a playground, the Houston Rockets would be looking up at the Lakers, their lunch money ripped from their pockets with dirt on their faces.

Tuesday night was less a basketball game than old-fashioned bullying, the Lakers (9-3) robbing the Rockets (3-6) of their dignity in a 117-100 rout that saw the defending champs exuberantly show up their hosts.

LeBron James led both the production (26 points) and the showmanship: In the second quarter, he slowly lined up a 3-pointer from the wing, then turned around to face the Lakers’ bench as it sank – sending his teammates into hysterics.

The Lakers have made a habit of emasculating Houston: Dating to their 4-1 playoff series win in September, they’ve now won six consecutive games against the Rockets. The latest surely didn’t sting as much as the second-round closeout blowout that sent them packing from the bubble – but as far as regular-season games go, they don’t get much more hurtful.

The win was the Lakers’ third straight and left them alone atop the league standings.

Anthony Davis (19 points, 10 rebounds) led the second straight strong defensive effort against the Rockets, recording a season-best five blocked shots. The last came on a fastbreak attempt by Rockets guard Sterling Brown, which Davis – a Defensive Player of the Year hopeful – followed up with a menacing scowl that seemed to question Brown’s audacity.

It was a sentiment that broadly applied to Houston, which shot just 39.2 percent overall two days removed from an 18-point loss. The Lakers collected 12 blocks and 10 steals, repeatedly slipping into the seams of a Rockets team that seemed disconnected and at times befuddled.

Christian Wood had a team-high 18 points for the Rockets. James Harden scored just 16 points, going 5 for 16 from the field.

James led the early going, hitting four of his first five shots and adding two assists to give the Lakers a 28-10 lead in a blink. By the end of the first quarter, the Lakers led by 21 points and never looked back.

It was an even effort throughout the rest of the supporting cast, with Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each adding 14 points and Montrezl Harrell adding 13. Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, both recently returned to the lineup, had three steals apiece to bolster the defensive effort. Starting center Marc Gasol scored just five points but added five assists.

The Lakers play the second night of their back-to-back on Wednesday at Oklahoma City to conclude the three-game trip. The team is 1-1 on the second night of back-to-backs so far this season.

More to come on this story.


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