Kobe, Lakers survive late surge by Rockets
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points,
eight rebounds and seven assists as Los Angeles squandered a 27-point fourth
quarter lead but held on and escaped with a 102-94 victory over the Houston
Rockets at the Toyota Center.
Houston, trailing 93-66 with 9:45 left in the final frame, went on an exciting
26-1 burst and cut it to 94-92 with 1 1/2 minutes remaining. That would be as
close as the Rockets would get, though, as Kwame Brown finally broke Los
Angeles’ scoreless drought and ended the rally with a tip-in for a 96-92 edge
with 57 seconds left.
Steve Novak then missed a three-pointer that would’ve brought the Rockets to
within one, but Smush Parker drilled a jumper and Maurice Evans dunked to seal
the win for the Lakers.
Houston’s comeback was the largest in franchise history and they did it
without Lamar Odom, who sprained his right knee in the first quarter after
landing awkwardly following his shot. Odom remained in the game until the
Lakers called a timeout 90 seconds later and was then taken to a hospital for
Luke Walton scored 18 points and dished out seven helpers for Los Angeles,
which has won three straight. Parker finished with 14 points and Brown had 12
for the Lakers.
Yao Ming poured in 26 points on 9-of-19 shooting and Luther Head donated 21
points for Houston, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. John Lucas
netted 13 points and Juwan Howard posted 10 points in defeat.
The Rockets led by as many as 10 in the first quarter on Head’s reverse layup
and finished the frame with a 25-21 edge.
Los Angeles, though, trailing by seven with 2:48 left in the second, went on a
13-3 run and took a 54-51 lead into the locker room.
The Lakers started the third with a 14-4 scamper, capped by three-pointers
from Brian Cook and Parker for a 68-55 advantage. Then, Vladimir Radmanovic
nailed a layup with 1:08 remaining and Los Angeles opened up a 20-point lead.
The Rockets were outscored in the quarter, 30-13.
Radmanovic finished with 10 points off the bench…Los Angeles shot 48 percent
from the field while Houston finished 45 percent shooting.