Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points in a reserve role and Russell Westbrook added 20 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 95-85 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Anthony Davis had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and LeBron James scored 15 points in the Lakers’ fourth win in five games after opening the season with two losses. Westbrook added eight rebounds and nine assists.
Eric Gordon scored 17 points and Christian Wood had 16 for the Rockets, who lost their fourth straight at the start of a five-game road trip.
Anthony had another dynamic game in his first season with Los Angeles, hitting five 3-pointers and tying his career high with four blocked shots. The 19-year NBA veteran, who has led the Lakers in scoring twice already this season, had at least four blocks and two steals in a game for the first time since Dec. 2, 2003.
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“I think people don’t really understand me,” Anthony said. “I think there’s a misconception out there about me not being able to adapt to situations. I’m easily adaptable to any situation and I’ve always tried to adapt to any situation I’ve been in. This is an easy adaptation for me just being here and being around the guys, being ready, staying ready, understanding what’s needed and being prepared.”
James went 6 for 19 in his second game back from a sore right ankle, but he had eight assists and seven rebounds.
Houston guard Jalen Green, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, finished with just seven points after getting in early foul trouble. The rebuilding Rockets trailed by 24 points in the first half and 28 in the fourth quarter before a late rally to trim the deficit.
The Lakers shored up their defense, and Anthony was a big part of that, too.
“I didn’t expect to see him have the defensive performance that he did, he was great,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “The steals and blocks, he’s always good with his hands. He was in the right position … He’s willing to do all these things and he can do all these things. When he’s providing that kind of performance on the defensive side with the way he’s shooting it, he’s a huge part of our win.”
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM
The Rockets didn’t do themselves any favors with 25 turnovers and 14 missed free throws.
“Turnovers wore us out,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “It’s been a problem for the first part of the season and when you’re playing against a good team, which is what we’re doing every night, we have to understand our spacing and a lot of things that go into the turnovers. Some were just careless and others were forced. Forced isn’t necessarily bad but careless (ones) we’ll have to watch as a group because it’s becoming a problem night after night.”
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT … CANDY
The 36-year-old James puts a lot of work into taking care of his body, which is well-documented. That means no candy on Halloween, which he confirmed.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of candy in the house right now, probably from my daughter,” James said. “My boys aren’t candy kids. They used to be. My daughter can have whatever she wants, but I stay away from it.”
Rockets: G Kevin Porter Jr., who played at nearby USC, was back in the starting lineup. A sprained left ankle forced him out of Thursday’s game against Utah. He played against the Lakers at Staples Center for the first time in his career … F Danuel House Jr. (right foot) missed the game and is expected to miss Tuesday’s game as well.
Lakers: C Dwight Howard (neck stiffness) didn’t play … Many of the Lakers dressed up for Halloween, including James as Freddy Krueger and Rajon Rondo as Wolverine. … Coach Frank Vogel said his family was giving out a mixed bag of treats, which had Baby Ruth, Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger and Whoppers among them.
A rematch on Tuesday night at Staples Center.