LeBron James spurs LA Lakers with late surge over San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles beat San Antonio to claim first win at home since Kobe's death
LeBron James scored 19 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, as the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow start to defeat the San Antonio Spurs 129-102 yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma scored 18 points each, and Kuzma added 12 rebounds in the Lakers' first victory at home since the death of former player Kobe Bryant and eight others in a Jan 26 helicopter crash.
The Lakers improved their best record in the Western Conference to 38-11, 3½ games ahead of the second-placed Los Angeles Clippers.
James, who also had nine assists and seven rebounds, sank five three-pointers in the first 3½ minutes of the fourth quarter to stretch the Lakers' lead from 87-77 to 108-87 and seal San Antonio's fate.
"LeBron came out and hit five straight threes in 3½ minutes, he got the lead for us and closed out the game early," Davis said.
"We just want to come out and make sure we play defence every night."
NEAR MISS FOR HARDEN
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and Bryn Forbes added 13 for the Spurs, who lost on back-to-back nights in Staples Center after falling to the Clippers on Monday.
The Spurs have dropped five of their past seven games.
Elsewhere, NBA scoring leader James Harden, chasing a third consecutive scoring crown, finished one rebound shy of a 40-point triple-double in the Houston Rockets' 125-110 win over the visiting Charlotte.
Harden, who passed off 12 assists and grabbed nine rebounds, could match the third-longest run of scoring titles in NBA history, behind only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain - both won a record seven seasons in a row.
Harden was exceptional throughout, especially down the stretch, fuelling a 12-3 run in the fourth quarter that enabled Houston to secure control.
He hit a three-pointer, converted a floater in the lane and fed Danuel House Jr for a transition alley-oop to help Houston win despite the absence of Russell Westbrook (thumb injury) and Clint Capela (heel).
House added 22 points and nine rebounds, while PJ Tucker posted 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. - AFP, REUTERS
OTHER RESULTS: New Orleans 108 Milwaukee 120, Denver 127 Portland 99