L.A. Lakers 96, Houston 93
HOUSTON, March 3 (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal
and Yao Ming
got all the
hype, but Kobe Bryant
came up biggest in the final minute.
NBA TV highlights from|
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
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
"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
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
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
"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