Kobe pours in 37 as Lakers down Rockets
LOS ANGELES - Reuters
Bryant (L) shoots against Houston’s Chase Budinger during the game. REUTERS photoKobe Bryant rediscovered his scoring touch to tally 37 points and lead the Los Angeles Lakers to top spot in the Pacific division with a 108-99 win over the visiting Houston Rockets on Jan. 3.
Bryant, who had connected on just 26 percent of his shots over his previous two games, finally caught fire against the Rockets while team mate Andrew Bynum had 21 points and 22 rebounds as the Lakers got their fourth win in five games.
“I just had to make some adjustments,” Bryant told reporters as he continues to play with an injured right wrist. “Some shots (it) hurts, some it doesn’t, so it’s inconsistent. But you have to find a rhythm.”
Los Angeles held an 82-81 lead with about 10 minutes remaining of a previously tight contest but outscored the Rockets 18-8 over the next eight minutes, led by nine points from Bryant during the stretch.
Bryant made 14-of-29 shots and also had eight rebounds and six assists.
The win moved the Lakers (4-3) a half-game in front of the cross-town Clippers in the division. The Rockets (2-3), meanwhile, have lost all three of their road games this season.
Houston’s Kyle Lowry just missed a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while Luis Scola added 20 points.
The visitors stayed in touch with the Lakers throughout the game, trailing by four at halftime and just one after three quarters, but they were pounded on the inside.
Los Angeles grabbed a 53-38 advantage in rebounds led by 7-footer Bynum.
After being suspended the first four games of the season because of a flagrant foul during the last post-season contest, Bynum has exploded back onto the scene with three straight double-figure games in points and rebounds.
“Rebounding the basketball is big. It’s important to us and it’s something I’ve been working on,” Bynum said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work before practice. I’m super confident right now.”