GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Houston Rockets 25 26 22 34 107
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 40 16 23 25 104

Dragic leads Rockets' rally over Lakers


Posted Mar 20 2012 8:13PM

HOUSTON (AP) Even Kobe Bryant was impressed by Goran Dragic on Wednesday night, giving the Houston point guard a quick hug at midcourt after the Rockets rallied to beat the Lakers.

Dragic hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 28 seconds left and finished with 16 points and 13 assists in the Rockets' 107-104 comeback victory.

Down by nine with 5 minutes left, the Rockets had a 12-0 run to take the lead.

Luis Scola and Courtney Lee scored 23 points apiece for the Rockets. Bryant had 29 points, and Pau Gasol added 21 for the Lakers.

The Rockets snapped a two-game losing streak, while the Lakers have lost two in a row.

Bryant, coming off a 3-for-20 shooting night Sunday, went 10 for 27 with two 3-pointers against Houston. The Lakers had 15 turnovers and were outrebounded 40-31.

The Lakers missed five straight shots during the Rockets' late spurt before Bryant sank a fadeaway with 1:28 remaining to cut it to 100-99. Patrick Patterson split two free throws before Bryant tied it with a long jumper over 6-foot-9 rookie Chandler Parsons, who guarded him most of the night.

Dragic answered by swishing a 3-pointer from the corner in front of the Lakers' bench. Bryant then missed a straight-on 3-pointer off the back of the rim, Parsons rebounded and Lee's free throws with 10.6 seconds left put the game out of reach.

Gasol and Andrew Bynum made 10 of 14 shots in the first quarter and the Lakers built a 40-25 lead.

Bryant started 3 for 5 on Wednesday. He drove into the lane late in the quarter, wrapped the ball around his back and hit a left-handed shot in the lane, part of a 20-7 Lakers' spurt.

The Rockets played stingier defense in the second quarter, and the Lakers' shooting cooled off, going 6-for-18 from the field. Houston finished the half with a 12-6 spurt to trail only 56-51 at the break.

Bynum was ejected late in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul for mouthing off to referee Monty McCutchen.

With Bryant on the bench, the Lakers opened the final quarter with a 6-0 run to stretch the lead to 85-73. Bryant returned with 5:01 left and the Lakers leading 97-88.

Notes: The Lakers' 40-point first quarter was a season high. ... Rockets G Kevin Martin (strained right shoulder) sat out for the fifth straight game, and Houston coach Kevin McHale did not know when the team's leading scorer might be ready to return. ... Yao Ming had a courtside seat, the first Rockets' game he's watched since retiring from basketball last summer. The 7-foot-6 center's career was cut short by injuries, mostly to his left foot. He says he's healthy now, "good enough for walking, but not good enough for playing basketball." Yao seemed content on Wednesday night and had no regrets that he and Tracy McGrady could never deliver a championship. "We had this chance before, and we missed it," Yao said. "There's no `if.' We just need to face ourselves, and say we did our best and walk away." Former Rocket and Laker Robert Horry watched the game with Yao.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Lakers take on the Rockets Tuesday, March 20th at the Toyota Center at 5:00PM. Catch all the action on KCAL and 710ESPN.

View More Photos

Points Bryant 29, 10-27 FG
Rebounds Bynum 7, 4 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 3 tied with 4
Steals World Peace/Blake 2
Blocks Bynum/McRoberts 2


Mike Brown:

(On the game)
“Bottom line, our defense is the worst right now and it has been all year, the last seven or eight games we just haven’t been playing well defensively. Our defensive assignments have been breaking down, our pick-and-roll coverage’s are breaking down. On transition, teams are getting open shots for lay-ups and a lot of that is because of our defense. We are turning the ball over, we had 15 turnovers and gave up 24 points. It’s the same old song. The last few minutes of the ball game, we gave up some crucial offensive rebounds. For those guys to shoot 49 percent from the field and still get 16 offensive rebounds, they just kicked our behinds. Just ‘hustle’ plays, where we should be coming up with the basketball and they just had the will to go get the ball, better than us. I am concerned about our defense. ”

Metta World Peace:

(On the game)
“I think Houston played great, Houston started making shots and getting out on transition they played a really good attack.”

(On what was the key to the game)
“The key was they did it on defense and they made the plays down the stretch.”

Pau Gasol:

(On the key to Houston’s win)
“We didn’t get to the lane much in the fourth and they did, and they also got some good looks. They were in good position to rebound and also got good kick-out to their shooters and they got into the game quickly. We have to do a better job defensively on their shooters and keep teams from doing things they want to do.”

Ramon Sessions:

(How the game got away)
“Give credit to Houston, they came out and played hard and we weren’t able to make the stops when we needed, they went on a sixteen to four run, down the stretch it was one of those games that we just could not get the stops when we needed.”

Kobe Bryant:

(On the key to Houston’s win)
“They got a lot of rebounds, and they got three or four cracks at a possession and that changes the momentum of the game. The steals got them out in transition and they were getting into a good rhythm.”

(On Chandler Parsons defense)
“(Laughter) You know what man, I might have to stop taking shots, when the shot clock is winding down, that’s what I am going to start doing because you guys (the media) look at that and think its great defense, I am going to stop shooting the ball when the shot clock goes down, but I love him (Chandler Parsons) though. I do, I think he is a terrific young player. He can shoot from the outside, handle the ball, and can rise to the challenge defensively. I think he has a really bright future and I don’t say a lot about a lot of people.”

Kevin McHale:

(On Chandler Parsons defense on Kobe Bryant)
“He (Parsons) did a good job. He (Bryant) made a couple of touch shots. He (Bryant) made a big 3 (pointer) and it was that shot that tied. You know, Kobe is a closer. Kobe's been a closer for a long time in this league. Chandler did what you got to do. You get hand up. You try to make them take shots. When Kobe has a lot of clock to work with and he's on top of that key, you don't have a very good feeling in your stomach when that's happening but Chandler really defends well. He's (Parsons) is a good solid defender. You know, he's (Parsons) really part of the game.”

(On the play of Rockets)
“We're not setup to say, 'Okay, we're going to run a little flare screen and pin down and setup one of our guys, probably at the top of the key and say go ahead do your thing.' We've got multiple screen and rolls. We've got a good hard drive by Courtney (Lee) sucked in the defense, made a beautiful pass out to Goran (Dragic) but that's how we have to play.”

(On the play of the Lakes)
“Even in the first half, we got our hand up a lot and they (Lakers) made shots. I was like 'Holy smokes”. I though they might be setting some kind of record for the amount of points we were going to see tonight. They (Lakers) were rolling. It's one of those things , when as a coach, when you try to make shots like that you get a little concerned. Everything thinks that it's going to be easy, my turn and stuff like that. I was actually a little concerned that their (Lakers) offense was flowing too good.”

Luis Scola:

(On the play of the team down the stretch)
“ We made defensive adjustments. At one point in the 4th quarter, Ramon Sessions had it going with the high pick and roll and we made adjustments on that. Then Kobe (Bryant) came in. We tried to give him different looks. So, it was just defense and rebounding.

(On guarding Kobe Bryant)
“It's always fun guarding Kobe. We were talking a little bit. He brought up the old playoff days when we were in the finals. We were just chit chatting about that and talking a little trash to each other but it is always fun to play against one of the players in the league that's considered one of the best.”

Goran Dragic:

(On his clutch 3-point shot in the 4th quarter)
“I was confident that it was going to go in. I was making fun of Courtney (Lee). 'I did it. In OKC (Oklahoma City) I passed you that corner 3 (pointer) and now you did it for me'(Lee to Dragic). We have to shoot that kind of shot. We were open, there was a minute to go. It was a good shot. In the end, luckily, we scored it and we went up 3 points.”

(On the importance of the win)
“It's huge, especially after losing those two games. We were close in L.A. against the Clippers and then we played bad in Phoenix. We were talking about, through the coaching staff, that now we have 7 games out of 9 at home and we have to win those games if we want to be a playoff team. Today we were fighting. We didn't start the game so well. They were hitting everything. They scored 40 points (in the 1st quarter) but then we established our defense and offense and I'm really happy we won that game.”

Chandler Parsons:

(On defending Kobe Bryant when Bryant misses the shot with 17 seconds left in the game)
“I played good D (defense). I was right there in his face. I think (Pau) Gasol set a brush screen so I was a little late on him but it was a good look for them. I think it was (Luis) Scola showed well and it was great team defense.”

(On the win)
“Lakers at home, after losing two, and we wanted this win. They are a great team. We had to play for the entire 48 minutes and we never gave up when we got down big. So give us some credit on that and just keep playing hard and defense is going to win us games.”

Jazz-Lakers Preview


The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have upgraded at point guard with one trade they made before last week’s deadline, but may have disrupted team chemistry with another.

The Houston Rockets were involved with one of those deals, and in no way did it help their immediate need for a point guard.

Five days after their trade, the Pacific Division-leading Lakers try to bounce back from a loss when they visit the short-handed Rockets on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (28-17) acquired Ramon Sessions from Cleveland on Thursday for Luke Walton and Jason Kapono, and then sent Derek Fisher to Houston for backup big man Jordan Hill. Adding the speedy Sessions, who averaged 10.5 points and 5.2 assists with the Cavaliers, seems to be an improvement over the 37-year-old Fisher, who averaged 5.9 points and 3.3 assists.

The trade, though, upset several Lakers veterans. Kobe Bryant, a teammate of Fisher’s for 13 seasons, considered the five-time NBA champion an invaluable ingredient in the club’s chemistry.

The deal appeared to make sense for the Rockets (24-22), who only have one healthy point guard and could use a veteran to bolster a playoff push. Fisher, however, never reported to Houston and confirmed Sunday he reached a buyout agreement with the team.

The Rockets are now forced to lean heavily on Goran Dragic at the point until Kyle Lowry returns from a bacterial infection. Lowry, averaging 15.9 points and 7.2 assists, is expected to be sidelined for at least another week. Dragic is averaging 16.0 points and 9.2 assists in six starts since Lowry became ill.

The Lakers are coming off a 103-99 loss to Utah on Sunday that snapped a five-game winning streak. Andrew Bynum had 33 points and went 12 of 14 from the field while Pau Gasol scored 18, but Bryant suffered mightily to find his rhythm.

He had 15 points and missed 17 of his 20 shots - his worst shooting performance since going 2 of 16 in a loss to Memphis on Dec. 20, 2004.

“The bottom line is, he’s our guy,” coach Mike Brown said. “The shots he took, I’d give it to him again. I don’t know how many shots he missed near the rim - I mean, point-blank shots.”

Bryant, the league’s leading scorer at 28.7 per game, had no trouble shooting in the Lakers’ lone matchup with the Rockets, a 108-99 win Jan. 3. He scored 37 points and went 14 of 29, while Bynum had 21 points and 22 rebounds.

Los Angeles is 10-2 in its last 12 against Houston, and Bryant has averaged 30.8 points in the last four meetings.

The Rockets are coming off a 99-86 loss to Phoenix on Sunday, which allowed the Suns to move within one-half game of Houston for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Luis Scola had 18 points, Dragic scored 16 and Marcus Camby, acquired Thursday from Portland, had eight points and eight rebounds in his Rockets debut.

"It’s always disappointing when you lose but we’ve just got to get home and get some practice under our belt with some new guys and go out and play,” coach Kevin McHale said.

Houston’s offense was a bit stagnant Sunday and could have better luck against a Lakers team that has allowed 105.0 points over its last four road games. The Lakers are surrendering an average of 97.3 points on the road - 9.1 more than they give up at home.

Probable Starters .
  #15 World Peace SF #25 Parsons  
  #16 GasolPF #4 Scola  
  #17 Bynum C #21 Dalembert  
  #24 Bryant SG #5 Lee  
  #5 Blake PG #3 Dragic  

Lakers Andrew Bynum
(bruised right knee) is probable.
Darius Morris
(bruised left wrist) is day-to-day.
Kobe Bryant
(nasal fracture) is probable.

Kyle Lowry
(bacterial infection) is out.
Kevin Martin
(strained right shoulder) is out.
Chandler Parsons
(illness) is out.

Game 1: 01/03 - HOU @ LAL-W 108-99
Game 2: 03/20 - LAL @ HOU
Game 3: 04/06 - HOU @ LAL


The Lakers lead the season series with Houston 1-0 and have taken each of the last three season series from the Rockets (2010-11 (2-1), 2009-10 (3-1), 2008-09 (4-0)). The two teams have met 192 times in all with the Lakers holding a 130-62 series advantage (108-56 since the Rockets moved to Houston). The Lakers are 8-2 against the Rockets in their last 10 games overall. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 16-8 all-time against the Rockets and 7-3 in their last 10. In Houston, the Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and are 9-5 all-time at Toyota Center. Kobe Bryant holds the series scoring record with two 53-point games. Both games broke his own series mark of 52 established at STAPLES Center in February of 2003. In 49 career games (44 starts) versus Houston, Bryant is now averaging 26.8 points per game, 4th highest among all teams behind Charlotte, Toronto and Portland. Lakers forward Metta World Peace played the 2008-09 season in Houston, averaging 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.52 steals in 35.5 minutes while setting single season career-highs in 3-point field goals made (153) and attempted (383) in 69 games (55 starts). He was also teammates in Sacramento from 2005-08 with current Rocket Kevin Martin. Rockets forward Luis Scola has played internationally for the Argentinean national team as far back as 1999, competing against both Kobe Bryant (Team USA) in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and throughout the years against Pau Gasol and the Spanish national team. In the postseason, the Lakers are 5-3 in eight meetings with the Rockets, most recently defeating the Houston 4-3 in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals.

With their 97-92 victory over Minnesota on March 16th, the Lakers recorded their SECOND wire-to-wire victory of the 2011-12 season. Their other wire-to-wire victory (game in which they never trailed) also came against the Timberwolves (104-85 (2/29)). Last year, the Lakers led the NBA with 10 wire-to-wire victories, all coming during the regular season. During the team’s two most recent championship runs, they recorded nine wire-to-wire victories in 2009-10 (seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City)) and 11 wire-to-wire victories in 2008-09 (nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston)). The Lakers have also lost one game this season in wire-to-wire fashion, falling to the Clippers 102-94 on January 14th. Last year, the Lakers lost two such games: (98-107 1/8/10 at POR & 75-91 3/26/10 at OKC).

Leading by nine at the half and by as many as 16 points in the third, the Lakers allowed Minnesota back to within as few as five but held on down the stretch to record their 19th consecutive victory over the Timberwolves 97-92 on March 16th at STAPLES Center. The streak, which is the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another, equals the second longest streak in Lakers franchise history when Los Angeles defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99. The longest regular season streak against a single opponent in Lakers franchise history is 24 consecutive victories over the Kings from 1983-88.

Kobe Bryant played 48:38 in the Lakers' overtime win at New Orleans on March 14th after playing 51:47 in their double-overtime victory at Memphis on March 13th. Bryant is the third NBA player in the last nine seasons to log more than 48 minutes in each of two games played on consecutive days. The only other players to do so over that span (2003-04 to date) were Charlotte teammates Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace (Jan. 11-12, 2008). Bryant is the first Lakers player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain (Feb. 1-2, 1969).*

With their overtime victory 3/14 at New Orleans, which followed a double-overtime victory 3/13 at Memphis, the Lakers posted overtime road victories on consecutive days for just the 3rd time in franchise history. The previous occurrences were November 13-14, 1997 (at SA and HOU) and November 3-4, 2009 (at OKC and HOU).*

During the 2009-10 season, with his 29th point on February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (29,143): Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277). Last season, Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) 12/19/10 at Toronto and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago into third on this list.

In acquiring Ramon Sessions (25) and Christian Eyenga (22) from Cleveland for Luke Walton (32) and Jason Kapono (31) and Jordan Hill (24) from Houston for Derek Fisher (37) prior to the March 15 trade deadline, the Lakers average team age saw two years shaved off of it, going from 29 years, 149 days to 27 years, 133 days.

With 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, Andrew Bynum recorded his third career 30+ point game but second in his last five contests. Additionally, by going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls.

*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau

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