Sunday , Apr , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe goes over 40 again in Lakers’ win over Rockets

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant posted 43 points and six
assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 104-88 win over the Houston
Rockets at the Staples Center.

Bryant has 23 games of at least 40 points this season, tying Elgin Baylor
(1962-63) for the franchise record.

Lamar Odom had 21 points and six rebounds and Smush Parker totaled 15 points
and a career-high 10 assists for the Lakers, who have won six of their last
seven games and moved within two games of Memphis for the sixth spot in the
Western Conference playoff push.

“Houston had some injuries to veterans and we were able to overwhelm them in
the second half,” said Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson.

Yao Ming contributed 33 points and 16 boards, and Rafer Alston netted 12
points and dished out six assists for the Rockets, who had a two-game winning
streak snapped and have lost eight of their last 11 contests. Houston, which
has nine games remaining, is five games behind Sacramento for the final
playoff spot in the West.

Trailing by one at the half, the Lakers began the third quarter with a 21-9
run, capped by a pair of Bryant three-pointers, to take a 72-61 advantage.
Richie Frahm hit a trey to narrow the gap to eight, but Los Angeles finished
the period with a 16-6 surge to push the score to 88-70 heading into the final
frame.

Bryant scored 22 points in the third stanza and posted 41 before the fourth
quarter started. The Lakers outscored the Rockets 37-18 in the third.

“I wanted to come out in the third quarter and provide some energy and the
shots started falling,” said Bryant.

Los Angeles took its biggest lead at 97-76 on Bryant’s fadeaway jumper, and
Houston had no answer as it couldn’t muster a rally in the last seven minutes.

The Rockets scored the first nine points of the game to take an early lead,
but the Lakers stormed back with a 13-6 run, behind six points from Bryant,
to make the score 15-13. Yao netted 14 points in the opening frame and
Houston led 29-27 after 12 minutes of play.

Luther Head’s dunk extended the lead to 46-40, but Los Angeles closed the
quarter with a 11-6 run, including seven points from Bryant and four from
Parker, to cut the halftime deficit to 52-51.

Yao compiled a double-double in the first half with 22 points and 10 boards
and he drained 11 of the Rockets’ 23 field goals.

Game Notes

The Lakers connected on 55.3 percent of their field goals, including 9-of-19
from beyond the arc, while Houston shot 43.5 percent from the floor…Five of
the Lakers’ final seven games are at home…Kwame Brown and Luke Walton each
scored 10 points for Los Angeles…Stromile Swift netted 10 points and grabbed
five boards for the Rockets.

HOU LAL