NBA Game Summary - Houston at LA Lakers
(Tuesday, October 30th)
Final Score: Houston 95, LA Lakers 93
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Tracy McGrady scored 30 points and Shane Battier drained a tie-breaking three-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play, as Houston held on in the final seconds to top the LA Lakers, 95-93, in the season-opener for both clubs from Staples Center.
Yao Ming added 25 points and a game-best 12 boards for the Rockets, who finished 52-30 a year ago and gave Rick Adelman a victory in his Houston coaching debut. Mike James came off the bench to record 13 points and Battier contributed 11 points.
Kobe Bryant recorded a game-high 45 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, who sported a 42-40 mark last season. Derek Fisher scored 17 points, while Bryant and Kwame Brown pulled down eight rebounds each in the loss.
"Take your hat off to Shane, he hit a big, big shot," conceded Bryant. "I've got nothing to complain about. I missed nine free throws. Damn, that won't happen again. Right now I'm thinking about playing, thinking about Phoenix."
Los Angeles came within six, 84-78, on Ronny Turiaf's slam with 4:11 left, but Houston extended its seemingly-insurmountable margin to 92-80 with 1:36 to go on Yao's turnaround jumper.
However, Jordan Farmar's lay-in with 54 seconds to go brought the Lakers within four at 92-88, and after James missed a pair from the line, Bryant cut through the lane for two to make it 92-90 with 24 seconds left.
Luke Walton came up with a steal out of the timeout and Fisher drained a long two to tie the game. However, Battier came right back and nailed a three from the right side which put Houston up 95-92.
"When they tied the game, we wanted to rush down the floor," Battier said. "I was open for a second. I thought I was in Phil Jackson's lap. I caught it in rhythm, and knocked it down."
On the inbound, Battier was all over Bryant to draw his sixth foul. Bryant made the first free throw and intentionally bricked the second off the backboard, but no Laker could come up with the bounce and time expired.
The teams combined to miss the first 10 shots of the game, until Bryant put LA on the board with a layup from the left side. The Lakers got off to a 15-5 lead, and led 25-16 after one.
Houston began the second on a 13-4 run, tying the game, 29-29, with a little more than 4 1/2 minutes played on James' three-pointer from the right side. James launched another three-ball, this time from the left side, and the Rockets took a 38-36 edge with under three minutes left before the half.
Fisher's arcing jumper with 30 seconds to go restored the Lakers' lead at 43-42, but McGrady made one-of-two from the line with 10 ticks left to forge a 43-43 deadlock at the break.
McGrady's layup with 1:15 played in the third quarter gave Houston a six-point bulge, 49-43, as the Rockets began the second half on a 6-0 spurt.
Yao's easy deuce with 4:38 left in the quarter boosted the Rockets to a 10- point cushion, 62-52. James' lay-in with 57 seconds to play gave the visitors a 70-59 advantage, and Houston led by eight heading into the fourth.
McGrady sank a shot from the top of the key with 7:57 left in the contest, pushing the Rockets ahead 77-63, their largest lead of the contest.
The teams split four meetings last season...Houston had not won its first game of the season on the road since 1985...Los Angeles had won its last four home openers...It was only the Lakers' second loss in a home-opener in the last 16 seasons...The Rockets improved to 21-20 all-time in season-opening games...Houston made just 6-of-22 three-point shots...Bryant was 18-of-27 from the charity stripe.
10/31 02:32:50 ET