HOUSTON (AP) — Pau Gasol scored 30 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 109-101 on Saturday night, getting back on track a night after a terrible outing in Oklahoma City.
The Lakers used a 20-0 run in the last 6 minutes of the second quarter to take a commanding lead and didn't trail after that en route to their eighth win in nine games.
Los Angeles had no trouble bouncing back after its 91-75 loss to the Thunder when it scored its fewest points of the season and shot just 39 percent from the field.
The Lakers surpassed that point total by the 5-minute mark of the third quarter after a jump shot by Kobe Bryant. It didn't hurt that they shot better than 57 percent against Houston.
Bryant, who went to the bench with 5½ minutes left, came up one assist shy of a triple-double, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His assists were two more than Los Angeles had the previous night when it set a season low with seven.
Los Angeles led by 15 when Bryant went out and Houston made a run late to cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the second quarter but it was too late.
Luis Scola led Houston with 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Aaron Brooks added 26 points.
The Rockets were up by one almost halfway through the second quarter before the 20-0 run fueled by eight points by Gasol to take a 62-43 lead. Houston missed 10 shots in that almost 6-minute span and didn't score again until Scola hit a jump shot seconds before halftime that made it 62-45 at the break.
That scoring drought left the Rockets with just 11 points in the second quarter, a season low for that quarter.
Houston got within 11 points twice in the third quarter, but the Lakers answered both times, the second time scoring seven straight points capped by Bryant's fadeaway that pushed it to 79-61.
Los Angeles' Ron Artest was shaken up when he and Trevor Ariza got tangled up chasing a loose ball in the third quarter. Artest fell to the floor and clutched his left ankle as the home crowd, mad that he left Houston for the Lakers, booed loudly. Artest hobbled off the court after a couple of minutes as both players were called for fouls.
Artest, who finished with seven points, was back on the court and appeared to be OK after a timeout.
NOTES: Rookie Jermaine Taylor made his first career start on Saturday for Houston and had a career-high 15 points. ... The Houston Yates high school basketball team was honored during a timeout for recently winning its second straight state championship in the state's second largest classification. The team has won 58 straight games and set a Texas record by scoring 170 points in a game in January.