Trevor Ariza started things off with a nice tribute to Kobe Bryant. It’s Kobe's last performance in Houston and Ariza is from Los Angeles. Many people noticed James Harden and Dwight Howard were absent from the tribute video. However, Harden wore Kobes and they hugged at the end of the game. There were so many Lakers fans in the building that Dwight Howard got booed during introductions so he probably wasn't in the most pro-Kobe mood.
The Rockets were one game out of the playoffs so obviously, they started the game off with a turnover. They turned things around immediately with a 7 - 0 run early on. Bryant stopped it with a spin move around Howard. However, the Lakers couldn't handle the defense and had three turnovers of their own.
Bryant put up 15 points until Michael Beasley came in off the bench and started getting points. Josh Smith also provided nine points off the bench to give the team a boost.
Houston's darkest moments came in the second. The Rockets allowed Black and Nance to go off. They got a combined 12 points before getting shut down.
Rockets were up eight but Kobe's was hot. Trevor Ariza allowed him to get two unguarded shots because he was so far away from the basket. Ariza didn't seem to think he would shot it. Jason Terry's three-pointer ended a 9-0 Kobe run.
The Lakers went on a 14 - 2 in the fourth until James Harden started to dominant. Metta World Peace was guarding him and really made him work for it.
Harden hit three shots, including a three-pointer. He had 30 points and 12 assists to put the Rockets up 102-93. The Lakers never came close to a comeback but the teams exchanged three-pointers for four consecutive possessions. It seemed like Bryant didn't want Harden to outscore him.
Bryant checked out with 35 points. The Rockets were up 14 around the two-minute mark when he called it. He got a standing ovation. He waved and returned the applause.
Bryant had hugs after the game. Dwight did not join in the love fest.
Kobe hugs James Harden and Trevor Ariza afterwards. Kobe has the biggest hug for Hakeem Olajuwon. No Dwight sighting— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 10, 2016
Kobe wasn't the only one who had a good night. Harden's 40 points tied him with Moses Malone for the most 40 point games in a season.
Harden has tied Moses Malone for the most 40pt games in a single season with 12.— Craig Ackerman (@ca_rockets) April 10, 2016