Bryant, Lakers down RocketsNov 19, 2012 - 6:54 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Mike D'Antoni's head coaching debut will have to wait again.
Once again, though, his Lakers had no trouble putting the ball in the basket.
Kobe Bryant's triple-double and Dwight Howard's 28-point, 13-rebound effort lifted Los Angeles to a 119-108 victory over the Houston Rockets.
D'Antoni was set to debut Sunday night, but decided hours before the game that he was not quite ready to return yet. He has been on crutches as he recovers from knee replacement surgery earlier this month.
Bryant tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory for Los Angeles, which recorded a season-high in points.
"We're just playing free, simple basketball right now and are making good decisions with the ball," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said.
D'Antoni ran Los Angeles' practice for the first time Thursday, but wasn't on the bench for the Lakers' 114-102 triumph against the Suns on Friday.
Los Angeles began the year 1-4, which resulted in the departure of Mike Brown. The Lakers then passed on the opportunity to bring back 10-time NBA champion Phil Jackson after they hired D'Antoni on Monday.
The Lakers have gone 4-1 under interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff although they've been without Steve Nash, who won a pair of NBA MVPs running D'Antoni's free-flowing and up-tempo style with the Suns, as he missed his eighth consecutive contest with a leg fracture.
Chandler Parsons netted 24 points to lead the Rockets, who have dropped six of their last eight contests.
Bryant had 11 points in the opening frame, while Howard added 10 as the hosts took a 40-29 advantage into the second.
Howard finished the opening half with 18 points and seven boards for the Lakers, who led, 68-60, at the break.
The Lakers held a 98-87 edge going into the final period and led by as many as 19 in the fourth.
"They're a tough team and they hit some big shots, but I felt like right from the tip tonight we didn't have energy," Parsons said.
The Rockets have gone 2-3 since head coach Kevin McHale left the team to deal with a personal matter ... Houston fell to 1-6 when James Harden doesn't score 30 points, he finished with 20.
- HOUSTON: 108
LOS ANGELES: 119
Nov 18 11:54 PM
- HOUSTON: 87
LOS ANGELES: 98
End of 3rd
Nov 18 11:25 PM
- HOUSTON: 60
LOS ANGELES: 68
Nov 18 10:38 PM
- HOUSTON: 29
LOS ANGELES: 40
End of 1st
Nov 18 10:06 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
LOS ANGELES: 2
1st Quarter - 11:43
Nov 18 9:41 PM
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