for this game

Battier's hit game-winning 3-pointer as Rockets edge Lakers

Oct 31, 2007 - 8:17 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Shane Battier had to be the last person on the Los Angeles Lakers were thinking about.

Battier hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with two seconds left in the fourth quarter to help the Houston Rockets hold on for a 95-93 victory over the Lakers in the season opener on Tuesday.

The exciting win came in spite of Lakers disgruntled superstar Kobe Bryant, who scored 45 points on 13-of-32 shooting. He also collected eight rebounds and four steals.

"Shane really made a tough shot," Bryant said. "We created a lot of turnovers but the most important thing is playing hard. We played hard and with a lot of effort."

Tracy McGrady scored 30 points and fellow superstar Yao Ming added 25 and 12 rebounds for Houston, which shot 45 percent (34-of-74) from the field.

The Lakers trailed, 92-80, in the fourth quarter before Bryant scored eight of the next 10 points to slice the deficit to two points with 24 remaining. After forcing a turnover, Bryant fed Derek Fisher on the right wing for a game-tying jumper with 13 seconds to go.

But the Rockets re-grouped as McGrady found the defensive-minded Battier for shot from the arc over the outstretched arm of Luke Walton with two seconds remaining for a 95-92 advantage.

"Overall I thought it was a good win, obviously," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "We just didn't finish it very well, but the second half we were pretty solid until the last few moments. It is hard when Bryant keeps getting on the line, and the clock stops. But we've got to have better composure, handle the ball a little better than we did in the last part of that game."

After making the first of two free throws, Bryant intentionally missed the second but was unable to control the rebound and score as the buzzer sounded.

Now with the regular season under way, the 6-6 Bryant can put his focus back on playing basketball following a frenzied summer in which he requested to be traded.

"When we are playing the game we just focus on one another," Bryant said. "It has nothing to do with speculation, or business or anything like that a lot of times can cloud the game and take the fun out of the game if you allow it to. And that is something I won't allow."

Bryant had to deal with the consequences of his actions as the Staples Center fans voiced their displeasure by booing the All-Star during the introductions of the starting lineups.

"I don't worry about it," Bryant said. "I just think about playing. I do my worrying about me. That is enough."

The two-time reigning scoring champion was strong in the first quarter, pouring in 13 points to help Los Angeles create a 25-16 bulge.

Tied at 43-43 at intermission, Houston took control for good in the third behind an impressive 17-7 run to hold a 10-point lead on McGrady's driving layup with 5:43 remaining.

Mike James' 13 points off the bench was a huge boost for the Rockets, who helped coach Rick Adleman earn his first win with the club.