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.
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.