Lakers Drop Fourth Straight, Lose To Rockets, 109-99

Kobe Bryant is second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.7 points per game.

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Lakers Vs. Rockets: Lakers Lose Fourth Straight

The reigning two-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers hope to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 2006-07 when they visit south Texas tonight to take on the Houston Rockets in the finale of a brief two-game road trip.

The Lakers lost the opener of the trek and their third straight overall on Tuesday in Memphis when Mike Conley poured in 28 points and Rudy Gay finished with 14 points and six blocks as the Grizzlies edged LA, 98-96.

Kobe Bryant finished with a game-high 29 points, and Pau Gasol added 15 points and 14 boards for the Lakers, who have lost three straight for the first time since March of last season when they dropped consecutive games to Miami, Charlotte and Orlando. It’s also just the second time since Gasol was acquired in 2008 from Memphis that LA has lost three in a row.

Ron Artest scored 12 and Lamar Odom supplied eight points and 11 rebounds in defeat.

“I just think we’re getting off to late starts in the third quarters,” Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. “It’s really hard to come out in the third quarters. You’re not ready to play and, with teams getting a double digit lead, you have to fight it back. We have to come out with a little more energy.”

LA hasn’t lost four straight contests since April 8-13, 2007.

The Rockets, meanwhile, are coming off a loss to in-state rival Dallas on Monday when Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 20 points and Caron Butler had 19 for the Mavericks in a 101-91 victory.

Kevin Martin scored 17 points to lead the Rockets, who lost for the sixth time in eight games overall as they continue to play without center Yao Ming (left ankle bone bruise) and point guard Aaron Brooks (sprained left ankle). Luis Scola added 15 points and Courtney Lee had 13 off the bench for Houston.

“It’s just the same story,” center Brad Miller told the Rockets’ website. “We have just got to find a way to lock it down at one of those points and not allow big runs like that.”

The Lakers have won three straight in the series, including a 112-110 win in the season opener for both clubs this season at Staples Center on Oct. 26. LA roared back from a 15-point deficit in that one.

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Lakers Search For Win Against Depleted Rockets In Houston

The Los Angeles Lakers and three-game losing streaks don't go together well, or at least very often. The Lakers will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat tonight as they head battle the Houston Rockets, without Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks, at Toyota Center in Houston. Since acquiring Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008, the Lakers have lost three straight regular season games just twice. In fact, head coach Phil Jackson has never had a championship team lose four straight games.

The Lakers have won eight of their last nine regular season games against the Rockets, including a comeback victory on opening night this season, 112-110 at Staples Center on October 26. The Lakers are 9-4 all-time at Toyota Center in Houston. Under Jackson, the Lakers are 27-11 in the regular season against the Rockets.

Tonight is the second game in as many nights for the Lakers, who lost 98-96 in Memphis last night. This is their third set of back-to-back games this season, and they have won the second game on both previous occasions. The Lakers have an NBA-low 15 sets of back-to-back games this season, their lowest franchise total since the 1948-1949 season.

Kobe Bryant scored 41 points in defeat last night, his first 40-point game of the season and 105th 40-point game in his career. Kobe is second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 26.7 points per contest. Pau Gasol has played 177 of a possible 192 minutes in his last four games, and has played at least 44:41 in the last three games. He is averaging a career-high 39.4 minutes per game this season.

The Rockets are just 5-12 on the season, and have lost six of their last eight games. Both point guard Aaron Brooks (who has missed 12 straight games) and Yao Ming (who has missed the last 10 games) have missed considerable time with left ankle injuries, and likely won't be back until next week. Houston is 3-4 at home this season.

Tonight's 5:30 p.m. PST game will be televised on KCAL.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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