NBA: Los Angeles Lakers 96, Houston 93

March 4, 2004 at 12:27 AM
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HOUSTON, March 4 (UPI) -- Kobe Bryant had 18 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds Wednesday night to help the Los Angeles Lakers edge Houston, 96-93.

Bryant also hit the go-ahead jumper in the final.

Yao Ming collected 33 points and eight rebounds and Shaquille O'Neal had 28 and seven in the third matchup between the All-Star centers this season.

Houston pulled within one point on a pair of free throws by All-Star Steve Francis with 58 seconds left, then took a 93-92 lead on a long jumper by Jimmy Jackson from the right corner with 39 seconds to play.

After a timeout, the Lakers got the ball to Bryant, who swished a fadeaway over the 7-5 Yao from the right wing with 31 seconds left.

Houston called timeout, then had difficulty getting off a shot before Yao missed badly on a jumper from beyond the foul line.

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