Lakers Showing Signs of Life After Terrible Start to 2014-15 Season

Don't plan to attend a parade down Figueroa Street just yet, Los Angeles Lakers fans. Don't even sit on StubHub for seats at Staples Center beyond mid-April, unless you're eager to support the Los Angeles Clippers.

A 98-92 win over the Dwight Howard-less Houston Rockets won't bring another Larry O'Brien Trophy to L.A. Neither will a 114-109 victory against the Atlanta Hawks, sans DeMarre Carroll and a whole Al Horford.

But wins are wins, especially those that come on the road. And in a season clouded with misery and predictable disappointment, every little ray of sunshine counts.

The Rockets still have plenty going for them, despite the absence of the Lakers' newest nemesis, on account of a knee strain. James Harden, for one.

Harden had himself an evening that was at once typical of and unusual for such a prolific and aggressive scorer. The two-time All-Star scored 24 points on just 11 field-goal attempts, with a pair of threes, a slew of slashes and eight made free throws constituting his total.

Typical Harden, right? Not if you peek behind the box score.

Harden didn't register any points until a quarter-and-a-half had passed, and he didn't hit from the field until there were just over three minutes left until the break.

Of course, The Beard brushed by L.A.'s defense for 20 second-half points.

Just none when it really mattered. He put the Rockets up five with a 20-footer at 2:42 in the fourth quarter, but he failed to get back on the board as the Lakers ripped off a stunning 12-1 run.

What happened? Wesley Johnson happened.

Good Wes came out to play in the waning moments, hounding Harden on one end and hitting shots on the other. With the clock running under a minute, he picked Harden's pocket and finished an and-1 on the other end that gave the Lakers a 94-92 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Two posse...

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