HOUSTON, March 3 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming got all the hype, but Kobe Bryant came up biggest in the final minute.

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The Run -- L.A.'s late surge:
Bryant had 18 points, a season-high 13 assists and eight rebounds and nailed a tough go-ahead jumper in the final minute to help the Los Angeles Lakers rally from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge the Houston Rockets, 96-93.

Yao collected 33 points and eight rebounds and O'Neal had 28 and seven in the third matchup between the All-Star centers this season. But in the final 60 seconds, the play was dominated by players under seven feet.

Houston, which trailed, 92-89, with 87 seconds remaining, pulled within one point on a pair of free throws by All-Star Steve Francis with 58 seconds left, then took a 93-92 lead on a long jumper by Jim Jackson from the right corner with 39 seconds to play.

After a timeout, the Lakers got the ball to Bryant, who swished a fadeaway over the 7-5 Yao from near the right wing with 31 seconds left. Bryant had missed 12 of his first 18 shots before that attempt.

"Kobe hit the shot that we wanted and I thought he adjusted really well tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "When he found out that he was not going to be able to shoot the ball as well as he wanted to, he had to spread the ball around a little more and he did that. I think he ended up with 13 assists and I was very happy with the way he came through for us."

"(I was) almost on his face, but I don't want to get into trouble," said Yao, who had five fouls. "I really tried to touch him. But I felt the ball go by. It was a big shot."

Houston called timeout, then had difficulty getting off a shot before Yao missed badly on a jump shot from beyond the foul line.

Lakers guard Derek Fisher was fouled gathering the loose ball with 9.8 seconds to play and calmly sank both free throws to make it 96-93. Cuttino Mobley had a tying 3-point attempt rim out just before the buzzer.

"We executed well on that last shot and Cuttino got off a pretty good shot," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "It just didn't go."

The Lakers capped a 3-1 road trip, suffering their only defeat at Atlanta on Tuesday, 94-93, when Bryant was in Colorado at a hearing for his sexual assault case.

"We are trying to turn it on and I think we are doing a pretty good job," Bryant said. "We lost a tough game last night that we should have won, but we knew we had a tough battle tonight and I think it shows a lot that we came out on top. We have to see if we can take it from here."

Houston went on a 14-0 run to take a 46-34 lead with 4:34 left in the second quarter and led by as many as 15 points just over four minutes into the second half.

Los Angeles trailed, 81-71, after an alley-oop dunk by Francis with 7:46 remaining before embarking on a 13-0 run. Bryant capped the burst with a pair of free throws that made it 84-81 with 4:26 left, and neither team led by more than three points thereafter.

"I thought we did a really good job of coming back even with as late as it was," O'Neal said. "We hadn't shown it this year, but we knew that we could play with this team anytime. We just have to do everything right. We had to wait until the fourth quarter, but Kobe took over and helped us get a good win. It was a good team effort tonight."

The Rockets had won the first two meetings between the teams this season.