NBA Game Summary - Houston at LA Lakers
(Sunday, April 2nd)
Final Score: LA Lakers 104, Houston 88
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant posted 43 points and six assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 104-88 win over the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center.
Bryant has 23 games of at least 40 points this season, tying Elgin Baylor (1962-63) for the franchise record.
Lamar Odom had 21 points and six rebounds and Smush Parker totaled 15 points and a career-high 10 assists for the Lakers, who have won six of their last seven games and remained 2 1/2 games behind Memphis for the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff push.
"Houston had some injuries to veterans and we were able to overwhelm them in the second half," said Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson.
Yao Ming contributed 33 points and 16 boards, and Rafer Alston netted 12 points and dished out six assists for the Rockets, who had a two-game winning streak snapped and have lost eight of their last 11 contests. Houston, which has nine games remaining, is 5 1/2 games behind Sacramento for the final playoff spot in the West.
Trailing by one at the half, the Lakers began the third quarter with a 21-9 run, capped by a pair of Bryant three-pointers, to take a 72-61 advantage. Richie Frahm hit a trey to narrow the gap to eight, but Los Angeles finished the period with a 16-6 surge to push the score to 88-70 heading into the final frame.
Bryant scored 22 points in the third stanza and posted 41 before the fourth quarter started. The Lakers outscored the Rockets 37-18 in the third.
"I wanted to come out in the third quarter and provide some energy and the shots started falling," said Bryant.
Los Angeles took its biggest lead at 97-76 on Bryant's fadeaway jumper, and Houston had no answer as it couldn't muster a rally in the last seven minutes.
The Rockets scored the first nine points of the game to take an early lead, but the Lakers stormed back with a 13-6 run, behind six points from Bryant, to make the score 15-13. Yao netted 14 points in the opening frame and Houston led 29-27 after 12 minutes of play.
Luther Head's dunk extended the lead to 46-40, but Los Angeles closed the quarter with a 11-6 run, including seven points from Bryant and four from Parker, to cut the halftime deficit to 52-51.
Yao compiled a double-double in the first half with 22 points and 10 boards and he drained 11 of the Rockets' 23 field goals.
The Lakers connected on 55.3 percent of their field goals, including 9-of-19 from beyond the arc, while Houston shot 43.5 percent from the floor...Five of the Lakers' final seven games are at home...Kwame Brown and Luke Walton each scored 10 points for Los Angeles...Stromile Swift netted 10 points and grabbed five boards for the Rockets.
04/03 00:17:53 ET