LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant returned, but it was an otherwise disastrous regular-season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost rookie forward Julius Randle -- the seventh overall draft pick in June -- to a serious leg injury in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets.
Moment of the game: Randle, the 19-year-old former Kentucky standout who left school after one season, tried to drive to the basket, but his right foot buckled and he collapsed on the court. He remained there for several minutes, holding his right leg, as medical officials tended to him. The Staples Center crowd fell quiet as a stretcher was brought out. Randle was carefully loaded onto it before being carted away while Lakers fans looked on in disbelief.
Throwback of the night: Bryant sank a vintage pull-up jumper from the left wing with 8:37 in the first quarter, his first regular-season field goal since December 2013, when he suffered a knee injury that ended his season. Bryant finished with 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting in 30 minutes, and the crowd offered huge cheers for every basket, rebound and pass, especially a slick no-look dish to Wesley Johnson on the fast break for an easy layup in the first half. Bryant capped his night by getting into a minor skirmish with former Laker Dwight Howard, who elbowed Bryant. Bryant was assessed a personal foul, Howard a flagrant and both received double technicals.
Stat of the night: The Lakers shot 3-of-10 from 3-point range, continuing their preseason trend of basically eschewing the long-range shots.
Player of the game: Rockets star James Harden torched his hometown team for 32 points, including 22 in the first half. Most of his damage came at the free-throw line, where he knocked down 15 of 16 shots.