Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 32 points and dished out 11 assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers needed overtime to post a 114-106 victory over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. Pau Gasol finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds, Lamar Odom totaled 20 points and 20 boards and Derek Fisher added 11 points for the Lakers, who snapped their losing streak at two games. Kevin Martin, celebrating his 28th birthday, logged 30 points to pace Houston, which has dropped three games in a row and five of seven overall.
Luis Scola had 24 points, including a game-tying layup with 5.5 seconds to go in regulation, and grabbed 15 rebounds in defeat. Scola converted the easy bucket to pull Houston even at 98-98. The Lakers entered overtime for the first time this season when Odom missed a jumper from beyond the arc at the buzzer.
The Rockets grabbed a four-point lead at 104-100 in the extra session, but a Gasol hook shot ignited a 14-2 run to end the game. "We didn't make the plays down the stretch and they did," said Houston head coach Rick Adelman. "Our guys played hard all game. We made great plays in regulation to tie it up, but we couldn't finish it. We just didn't do enough to win."
Los Angeles led 31-23 after the opening 12 minutes, and a pair of Bryant free throws extended the margin to 43-31 midway through the second quarter. Houston trimmed its deficit to 49-48 before the Lakers closed the frame on a 5-0 surge to take a 54-48 lead into the break. Martin knocked down a trey and sank a free throw to put the Rockets up 68-63 with 5:27 to play in the third quarter. The teams were locked at 74-all at the conclusion of the stanza.
Houston trailed by as many as seven in the fourth quarter before rallying to force overtime. "I didn't like the way we closed the game; that was disappointing," said Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson. "We got a hold of what they were doing in the overtime and found a way to win." The Rockets fell to 0-5 in overtime this season...Lakers center Andrew Bynum missed the game with a bone bruise in his left knee.
As the Los Angeles Lakers look to snap their two-game losing streak tonight, hosting the Houston Rockets at Staples Center, they will have to do so without starting center Andrew Bynum. Bynum had an MRI Tuesday morning which revealed a bone bruise in his left knee, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. He will not play tonight, and is listed as day-to-day.
Bynum, who missed the first 24 games of the season recovering from surgery to his right knee, returned to the starting lineup on December 29 in New Orleans. The Lakers are 12-5 with Bynum starting at center this season. In 24 games, Bynum averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.75 blocks per game this season. With Bynum out tonight, expect Lamar Odom to start at power forward, with Pau Gasol sliding over to center.
The Los Angeles Lakers host the Houston Rockets tonight in their first game of February, which is shaping up to be a brutal month for the Lakers. After playing just 16 of their first 48 games against teams with winning records, the Lakers play nine of their 13 February games against teams with records above .500. In addition, thanks to the Grammys and the All-Star game, the Lakers head out on the road for the bulk of their February schedule, for nine games including a seven-game road trip beginning Saturday in New Orleans.
The Lakers have gone 10-5 in each of the last three months. Asking for 10 wins in 13 games in February sounds like a bit much, but the Lakers do have the second-best road record in the NBA at 15-8. We will find out a lot about this team after the Lakers run their February gauntlet.
After a pair of bad home losses, the Los Angeles Lakers need a win tonight as they host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Lakers are just 9-7 against teams currently at .500 or better, and 24-8 against everybody else. The Rockets, at 22-27, fall into the latter category, but the Lakers still need to improve their play before they beat any team.
The Lakers posted a couple of dubious marks in Sunday's ugly loss to the Celtics at Staples Center. Their 10 assists as a team were the lowest total by the Lakers since Oct. 25, 1960, while Boston was a well-oiled offensive machine, handing out 34 assists on their 44 made field goals. Boston's 60.3% field goal percentage was their third-highest ever against the Lakers, regular or postseason.
Kobe Bryant suffered the slings of many arrows after his 41-points, zero-assist game on Sunday, but he was one of the few Lakers playing well on offense. Pau Gasol, for instance, was a non-factor with 12 points and seven rebounds, and made just five of 13 field goals. Gasol has shot under 40% in 13 different games this season, and the Lakers are 6-7 in those games.
The Rockets are led in scoring by Kevin Martin, at 23.0 points per game, but the surprise of the season is Luis Scola enjoying his finest season as a pro. Scola, in his fourth season, is averaging 19.3 points, a career high, and 8.4 rebounds, while shooting 50.2% from the field. Scola also hasn't missed a game in the NBA, with a consecutive games played streak of 295. Lakers' guard Derek Fisher holds the longest active streak in the NBA, playing in 461 straight contests.