NBA: LA Lakers 93, Houston 85

April 2, 2004 at 1:28 AM
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LOS ANGELES, April 2 (UPI) -- Kobe Bryant scored 26 points Thursday night as the Los Angeles Lakers ground out a 93-85 victory over Houston.

The Lakers won their 10th straight game and moved into a tie with Sacramento for the best record in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles led by just one going into the final period, but pulled away during the middle portion of the quarter and then fought off a Houston comeback bid.

Karl Malone added 20 for the Lakers and Shaquille O'Neal had 18 as Los Angeles won despite shooting just 38 percent from the field. The Lakers out rebounded Houston, 58-36.

Houston has lost six of its last nine games, but still is virtually assured of finishing seventh in the West. The Rockets fell 4 1/2 games behind sixth-place Dallas and is 3 1/2 games ahead of eighth-place Utah.

Cuttino Mobley led Houston with 26 points. Yao Ming was held to six.

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