The Lakers score against the Rockets was treated as an afterthought. After all, the Lakers score followed an emotional championship celebration, as the two-time defending champs took one last look back. Following that show, handling the Houston Rockets should have been easy for Kobe Bryant and company. However, with Yao Ming back, and with the Rockets trying to take a step forward in the Western Conference, they nearly spoiled the party. Yet the score finally turned around for the champs, as they hope their 112-110 win was just the beginning.
After Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and company got their latest rings, and unveiled their new banner, the champs took a while to get in the game. The Rockets got ahead and led by as many as 15 points in what would have been a big early statement.
Yet the Lakers’ score in this opener went through the same trajectory as the final game of last year. In Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Los Angeles started slow at home, and let Boston take a big early lead. But the Celtics ultimately could not hold on for the full 48 minutes, and the Rockets had a hard time doing the same last night.
However, the Rockets stayed around a bit longer than the Celtics did months ago, so the Lakers needed new names to help them rally. While Kobe had 27 points, and Pau Gasol had 29, Shannon Brown and Steve Blake hit the big shots late.
Brown led the champs back from their second half deficit, with 14 points in 6 ½ minutes. Then with the game on the line, Blake punctuated his LA debut on a go-ahead three with 18.8 seconds left. With that, the score finally went in LA’s favor, after Houston lost a few last-second chances to tie the game.
The 112-110 victory was more difficult than expected for the Lakers, although it was fitting. Once again, they proved that they could flip the switch at the end, and that handling them for a full game is still very difficult. Although all of the offseason buzz was over Miami, Los Angeles is still the team on the NBA throne.
That fact was reinforced on opening night in more ways than one. The score was tight, but the champions finally found a way to come through. Meanwhile, the Heat could not find a way to rally against the Celtics, as LeBron James wound up carrying the Big Three on his back. Yet while James still may have a hard time finding help, Bryant had more than enough in key points.
Still, the tight Lakers score proved that last year is completely over, and this year offers fresh new challengers. Los Angeles will learn that again on Friday night, as they return to Phoenix for the first time since the Western Conference finals.
Yahoo Sports- “Lakers rally past Rockets, 112-110 in opener”