LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant needed only three quarters to score 26 points and the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from their Game 4 flop, routing the Houston Rockets 118-78 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
The top-seeded Lakers did everything they didn't do in Sunday's 99-87 loss at Houston -- hustled, rebounded and played tight defense on Houston's smaller lineup, keeping Aaron Brooks in check and limiting wide-open shots.
On Sunday the Lakers trailed by 29 points. On Tuesday night, they had a 29-point lead by late in the second quarter, on a 3-pointer by Bryant, who led seven Lakers in double figures.
The Lakers can wrap up the series Thursday night in Houston.