Reserve guards Shannon Brown and Steve Blake keyed a second-half run by the Los Angeles Lakers, leading them to a 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on opening night at Staples Center. There were four lead changes in the final minute, with the final lead coming courtesy of a three-pointer by Blake with 18.8 seconds remaining. The Lakers are 17-2 in their last 19 opening nights.
The Lakers trailed for most of the night, and the Houston lead swelled to 15 midway through the third quarter. That's when the Laker bench mounted a comeback.
The Lakers trailed 82-71 with 1:47 remaining in the third quarter, but Steve Blake hit two three-pointers to end the third quarter with the Lakers only down by five points. Brown hit four three-pointers in the final period, scoring 14 points in the fourth, as the Lakers went on a 28-9 run over a nearly nine-minute stretch to build an eight-point lead with five and a half minutes remaining.
However, the Rockets mounted a comeback of their own, retaking the lead at 108-107 on two Brad Miller free throws with 53.9 seconds left. Pau Gasol and Luis Scola traded buckets, giving the Rockets the lead before Blake's three-pointer. Aaron Brooks missed a heavily-contested reverse layup attempt with under a second remaining, preserving the Lakers' victory.
The Lakers made two of their first 12 three pointers, but beginning with the final two minutes of the third quarter the Lakers made seven of their final nine attempts from beyond the arc, all by Brown and Blake. Gasol and Lamar Odom each had double-doubles for the Lakers, Gasol with 29 points and 11 boards, and Odom with 14 points and 10 points.
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