Source: Agencies | 2012-12-6 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
GREG Smith scored 17 of his career-high 21 points in the second half on Tuesday to help ignite a Houston rally that shot the Rockets to a 107-105 NBA win 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 103-113 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."
Elsewhere, Oklahoma City and Memphis continued their impressive starts to the season with hard-fought wins while the Miami Heat suffered a shock defeat by a Washington team that went into the game with a 1-13 record.
Thunder seemed to be making light work of a seemingly difficult assignment away to the Brooklyn Nets when they cruised to a 16-point lead. However Brooklyn rallied and whittled the gap down to just two points, only for the Thunder to steady and notch a 117-111 victory.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists as Oklahoma City brought up a sixth straight victory. They also became the first team in 15 years to pass 100 points in 10 straight games.
The Grizzlies had an even tighter game, needing overtime and a banner performance by Zach Randolph to beat the Phoenix Suns 108-98.
The shock of the day, and perhaps the season, was the Washington Wizards 105-101 win over Miami.
The Wizards doubled their victory total this season, despite LeBron James' triple-double of 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Jordan Crawford led Washington with 22 points, including three free throws in the final 11 seconds, while James missed a potentially tying 3-pointer with 3.9 to go.