Kobe vs. Rockets - 10.260.10

Kobe Bryant hits jump shot against Rockets.

On a night where the Lakers of 2009-10 received their championship rings, it was a new Laker for 2010-11 who hit the biggest shot of the game, as the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets 112-110 at Staples Center on Tuesday night to open the NBA season.

Steve Blake hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left on a pass from Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers, who seemed sluggish all night until late in the third quarter, escaped with the win.  Blake in his Laker debut finished with 10 points on 3-5 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc.

Shannon Brown also had an inspired game off the bench, as he poured in 16 points, including 4-5 from the 3-point line, and showed his much-improved outside shooting.  He also had four steals, and was a key catalyst as the Lakers rallied from a 15-point deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers were able to surprisingly get back in the game with Kobe Bryant resting, as the bench took over in the third and fourth quarters.  Blake and Brown each hit three 3-pointers in the final two periods, part of a big run that turned the tide.

Kobe Bryant had 27 points and seven assists, as he continues to work his way back from off-season knee surgery.  Pau Gasol led everybody in the game with 29 points and 11 rebounds.  Lamar Odom added 14 points and 10 rebounds in a starting role for Andrew Bynum, as the center continues to rehab his knee.

Early on the Rockets seemed determined to spoil the Lakers special night, as they shot over 50% from the field in the first half and led 62-51 at the break.   They held a double-digit lead until the final moments of the third quarter, when Steve Blake hit back-to-back threes to draw the Lakers to within five.  The Rockets would fall behind by as much as eight in the final quarter, but managed to pull ahead 110-109 on a Luis Scola layup with just under 30 seconds left.

Bryant then drove to the rim taking defenders with him, and passed out to Blake, who hit a 3-pointer from out front that put the Lakers ahead for good.  The Rockets had two chances at the end to tie or win the game, but were unable to get good looks at the basket.

The Lakers next game is Friday night in Phoenix, where they will face an Amar’e-less Suns team for the first time.

Link: Lakers vs. Rockets Box Score