Basketball - NBA

Lakers edge Rockets in opener

The Los Angeles Lakers were indebted to bench players Shannon Brown and Steve Blake as they launched their NBA championship defence with a nail-biting 112-110 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

 
Lakers edge Rockets - Basketball - NBAReuters
 

Brown knocked in four three-pointers and fellow guard Blake slotted three, the last of them with just 18.8 seconds left on the clock, as the Lakers came from 15 points behind.

The lead changed hands four times in the last minute of a gripping contest at the Staples Center before Blake's final shot sealed the win.

Kobe Bryant, although not at his best after having off-season surgery on his right knee, scored 27 points for the Lakers while Spanish forward Pau Gasol added a game-high 29.

Brown ended up with 16 points and Blake finished with 10.

Guard Kevin Martin top-scored with 26 points while Aaron Brooks contributed 24, including four of six three-pointers, for the Rockets who led throughout the second and third quarters.

Reuters
 
 
 
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