Rockets 95, Lakers 93

The Staples Center fans weren’t happy with how this one finished, with two semi-controversial calls. First, the refs ruled that Kobe Bryant didn’t get off a 3-point shot and instead gave him two free throws. Then, the game ended with the ball getting knocked away from Bryant — a non-call — before he could get off a last-gasp lob at the net.

What a bizarre game. Not very well played for the most part, and it came with the drama of Kobe Bryant getting alternately booed and cheered. It’s going to be quite a season…

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Too little, too late?

The Lakers are finally moving the ball well and resembling a cohesive team. But they waited until they faced a double-digit deficit before they started to get going. It seems as though the Rockets will have enough to hold them off, as they hold an 88-78 lead with 2:30 remaining.

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Here comes Kobe

He’s got “that” look about him right now. You know, the one in which he looks as though he’s going to single-handedly take over the game. And if the Lakers are going to win tonight, he must. Bryant is only 1 of 4 from the field in the fourth quarter, but he’s driving to the basket and drawing fouls. Houston leaeds 77-68 with 6:39 remaining. Bryant has a game-high 31 points and he’s going to the line…

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More wackiness

Chuck Hayes airballed a free throw and the Lakers had to call a timeout because Chris Mihm’s shoe came off.

When does the regular season start?

This quarter is just as sloppy as the first and the Rockets have a 74-62 lead 2:18 into the period.

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Did that just happen?

The Lakers just put the ball in their own basket. A loose ball under the Lakers’ basket bounced high and Luke Walton tipped it…right into his own net. Walton and Kwame Brown stood at looked at each other for a moment, and the stunned crowd didn’t even boo. When’s the last time that happened?

Things are slip-sliding away for the Lakers, who trail 62-52 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.

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Quiet crowd

There’s no booing, or much of anything. McGrady just hit a short jumper and Derek Fisher threw up his hands in frustration as the Lakers called a timeout. The Rockets lead 49-43 just 1:18 into the third quarter.

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Heading south

Houston has outscored the Lakers 22-11 in this quarter and took its first lead of the game on a Mike James 3-pointer with 2:46 left in the quarter. Other than Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have no offense, and even he’s not so hot this period. Houston leads 38-36 with 2:02 remaining in the half.

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Comeback Rockets

After their miserable start, the Rockets are back in the game. They tied it 29-29 on Mike James’ 3-pointer midway through the second quarter and now they have tied it again at 31. The Lakers got in some trouble once they went to the bench, while the Rockets’ transition seemed much smoother. Evans, Cook, Farmar and Bynum are a combined 1 for 7 from the field. There are six minutes remaining in the half.

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Some things never change

That’s two fouls in three minutes for Andrew Bynum.

The Lakers’ second unit is sputtering and the Rockets are back in the game. It’s probably up to Kobe Bryant to provide all the offense for a while.

Lakers lead 25-21, two minutes into the second quarter.

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Early star

For the Lakers, it would be Ronny Turiaf, who has responded well to his starting role. Turiaf has made 2 of 3 shots from the field and also has three rebounds, one steal and one block.

The Lakers lead 17-10 with 2:40 left in the first period. Kobe Bryant is 2 for 7 from the field, for three points with three rebounds. The Rockets are 4 for 17 from the field. At one point, they were 2 for 13.

Also, Jack Nicholson just arrived, so the Lakers’ real star is in the building.

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