The highlights will focus on James Harden Euro-stepping his way past the Lakers’ Ryan Kelly with a move so devastating Kelly’s ankles might have thought they had put through a form of rookie hazing.

The numbers will point to Harden’s 38 points, making him the first Rocket to score at least 37 in three-consecutive games since Hakeem Olajuwon was rolling through the 1994-95 season.

The trend to emerge from the Rockets’ 113-99 second-half roll past the Lakers on Wednesday will be about another comeback against the Lakers, with each of the Rockets’ past seven wins against the Los Angeles coming with a rally from down at least 10 (11 on Wednesday).

Yet, when Harden talked about the rally and his roll, the smile did not slip until he was asked about the part of the game that might have been obscured by everything else.

Harden’s five steals were the most for a Rockets player this season, two shy of his career high. He’s put up points before. His 37 or 38 a game lately has looked easy, as if he waited until they were needed and then cranked up the offense. But the Rockets turned around the game when they began defending in the second half, turning defense into offense, turnovers into layups.

“The five steals, definitely,” Harden said when asked his preference. “The steals got me the points. Defensively, just picking up the intensity. If we play defense, our offense is going to be more effective.”

As well as Harden has been scoring – and his three-game surge with 113 points was second to Kevin Durant’s NBA-best three-game run of 117 – the Rockets did not get control of the game until they grabbed control of the Lakers’ offense.

When the Rockets finally cranked up the defense, the Lakers went from making 45.8 percent of their shots in the first half to 33.3 percent in the third quarter. The Lakers had more turnovers in the third quarter (7) than the Rockets had committed in the game (6).

“We played a lot harder and just go more aggressive,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We got up into them. In the first half, we had a lot of individual breakdowns and just one-on-one plays. We let them go to their strong hand and they broke us down and it was really easy. We did a better job in the second half defending. It was the difference in the game.”

The Lakers made just 35 percent of their second half shots with 10 turnovers. The Rockets’ 12 steals in the game were two shy of their most this season, despite slowing down dramatically down the stretch when the Lakers shifted to intentionally fouling Dwight Howard (he made 6 of 14 hack-a-Dwight free throws) to briefly stay in the game.