"We're fortunate to win this game, and it might be like this for a while."
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, grabbed five rebounds and added seven assists, including one that set up Steve Blake for the go ahead 3 pointer with 18.8 seconds remaining.
For starters, the Houston Rockets were bound and determined to spoil the boisterous party. In the end, the Lakers rallied from a 15 point first half deficit to take a 112 110 victory from the Rockets in the regular season opener.
After all, there was the distraction of the ring ceremony, with reminders of their second consecutive title flooding over them as a sellout crowd of 18,997 roared its approval as each of the players, coaches and staff members received his ring.
Jackson said before the game he noticed an Nike Air Force 1 Low Black Suede White improvement in Bryant's strength, but he was still concerned enough to monitor the superstar guard's minutes closely. Jackson also said he would consult with Bryant during Tuesday's game.
Lakers victory on opening night has a nice ring to it
The loudest cheers were reserved for Bryant, whose surgically repaired right knee was the subject of much concern during training camp. Bryant did not run or jump or play with his customary explosiveness again Tuesday.
"We're pleased to beat this team," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We think this is a pretty good team. We anticipate we're going to be a little bit slow, just not on the mark right off the bat.
Yao Ming returned to Houston's active roster after sitting out all of last season because of a broken left foot suffered during the Lakers' victory over the Rockets in the 2009 playoffs. The Rockets missed the playoffs last Flyknit Air Force 1 Low
The Lakers' early struggles weren't unexpected.
season without Yao.
The Lakers gleefully accepted their diamond encrusted championship rings Tuesday night at Staples Center, then went back to work. They did their best to put aside their emotions and concentrated on getting a jump start their three peat pursuit.
the previous mark of 14 seasons apiece in purple and gold. Magic Johnson played with the Lakers for 13 seasons.
Bryant scored 13 points and Gasol and Odom added 12 apiece as the Lakers trailed the Rockets by as many as 15 points en route to a 62 51 deficit by halftime.
Blake finished with 10 Air Force Low Cut
Kevin Martin led the Rockets with 26 points, and Aaron Brooks had 24.
The Rockets scored almost at will in the early minutes.
Brooks missed a driving layup at the buzzer, after the referees used video replay to determine the Lakers knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left, giving Houston a final shot.
It was a tall order.
Yao was overshadowed by Houston's guards in the first half, when Martin scored a team leading 19 points on 6 for 13 shooting and Brooks added 18 points on 5 for 8 shooting, including 4 of 5 from beyond the 3 point arc.
In the fourth, the Lakers' depth proved to be too much for the Rockets. Brown made 5 of 6 shots to spark the Lakers' rally, including 4 of 4 from beyond the 3 point arc. Blake made what turned to be the winning 3 pointer, a no hesitation jumper from 27 feet.
Lamar Odom added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers erased an 82 77 deficit by outscoring the Rockets, 22 9, to start the final period.
Pau Gasol scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lakers.
No question, the Lakers were out of sync through the better part of the first three quarters before they began to find their rhythm before it was too late. They surged into the lead in the early minutes of the fourth, but never quite put away the Rockets.
Bryant began his Lakers record 15 thseason by playing 37 minutes, 4 seconds. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West shared Air Force Nike Boots White
"It's always fun when this night comes and there's a chance to enjoy it," said Bryant, a five time champion along with Derek Fisher. "And tonight it was a little more special because we all introduced each other. It's special. We know the bond that we share, and for (Fisher) to bring me out there, that was great."
"Shannon caught fire and kept shooting," Jackson said. "He's confident in his shot. He's a great driver. Everybody knows he can finish strong around the basket. But everybody said he's got to improve his (outside) shooting."
"If you play with guys like Kobe, Lamar and Pau, guys who create shots, you've got to shoot with confidence," said Blake, who was 3 for 4 on 3 pointers.
"I thought he was running with a limp when we were first in Europe," Jackson said, referring to the Lakers' first exhibitions earlier this month. "I didn't like what I saw there. He started running more fluidly (in the last few exhibitions)."
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