NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Houston
(Saturday, November 13th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 84, Houston 79
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Lamar Odom had 20 points and 13 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers gave head coach Rudy Tomjanovich a triumphant return to Houston with an 84-79 victory over the Rockets.
Tomjanovich spent 33 years in Houston as both a player and a coach, leading the Rockets to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and '95 before having to resign in March 2003 upon being diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was honored during a pregame ceremony and given numerous standing ovations.
"The last time I talked to the public here in Houston, it was a very sad day," said Tomjanovich, who replaced Phil Jackson as Lakers coach in the offseason. "I want to thank you for your support through the good times and especially through the bad. I know it in my heart you helped me beat cancer."
Kobe Bryant added 19 points and 11 boards to help the Lakers snap a brief-two game skid.
Yao Ming poured in a game-high 32 points to help Houston cut into a 22-point third-quarter deficit. The Rockets, playing without the injured Tracy McGrady, had the lead momentarily before being dealt their second straight loss without the star guard.
McGrady has been hampered by a strained hip flexor and groin strain. Jim Jackson shot just 5-of-17 and finished with 15 points in 39 minutes.
Bryant netted the first nine points for Los Angeles out of the halftime gates to help extend a 12-point margin to 59-37 four minutes into the third period.
A three-point play by Yao fueled a 23-7 run over the duration of the quarter. The Lakers still held a 66-60 advantage heading into the final stanza despite going nearly six minutes without a field goal.
The Rockets made use of the three-point line to grab a 76-75 edge just past the midway point of the fourth. Jackson, Charlie Ward and Tyronn Lue all hit from long range during the go-ahead 9-2 spurt.
The lead didn't last long as a bucket by Chucky Atkins put the Lakers back in front. The best Houston could do from there was tie it on a short basket by Yao with 3:15 remaining.
Both offenses went silent over the next 1:40 before Bryant's free throw made it a one-point game and Atkins hit two more to make it 81-78.
Yao went hard to the hoop unsuccessfully with just under a minute to go but no foul was called. He made 1-of-2 from the line with 25 ticks left.
Odom gave the Rockets one more chance after converting only one of his free throws.
Ward's attempt at a three went in and out and Caron Butler drained a pair from the charity stripe to finally put the game away.
The Lakers bridged a 13-2 run over the first and second frames on the way to a 47-35 halftime lead.
Rockets GM Carroll Dawson presented Tomjanovich with a portrait of the coach with his hands raised in triumph on the sideline...Atkins finished with 10 points...Houston shot 34.6 percent (27-of-78), while the Lakers were 29-for-71 (41 percent).
11/14 00:03:29 ET