Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Kobe Bryant scored nine of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers went into Houston and stunned the Rockets, 98-92, to win their second straight game.
Bryant shot just 10-of-28 from the floor but added seven assists for Los Angeles, which improved to 3-9 on the season. Jordan Hill and Nick Young both scored 16 points, and Carlos Boozer posted 12 points and 13 boards.
James Harden, who was shooting just 37.2 percent from the field prior to Wednesday's game, hit an efficient 7-for-11 for 24 points and added seven assists in Houston's second straight defeat.
"They did a great job of bringing their 5-man up to get the ball out of my hands," Harden said. "We didn't execute like we needed to to win the game."
Kostas Papanikolaou contributed 19 points off the bench and Patrick Beverley scored 15 for the Rockets, who were without star center Dwight Howard. The former Laker was held out against his old team with a strained right knee.
Howard also made headlines for the wrong reasons this week after multiple media outlets reported that he was under investigation for allegedly hitting his six-year-old son with a belt. No charges have been filed.
Houston led 75-70 through three quarters, but Young set the tone for LA's fourth with a jumper 15 seconds in.
Beverley and Jason Terry hit consecutive 3s to create some distance, however the Lakers kept coming. Hill and Young both scored four during an 8-0 run, which Young finished with an acrobatic reverse layup at 6:19 to put the Lakers in front.
Houston responded and led by three when Harden was pure with a stepback jumper out of a timeout for a 91-86 game. Bryant kept the Lakers alive at the other end when his deep two rattled around and fell despite getting fouled. He sank the free throw to pull the Lakers to within two with 1:43 to play.
Tarik Black, Howard's replacement in the starting lineup, then split a pair at the line and Wesley Johnson made two after drawing a foul on Beverley crashing the offensive glass. On Houston's next trip, Harden lost the ball and Johnson converted a three-point play in transition to put the Lakers in front.
"He's doing a phenomenal job," Bryant said of Johnson. "I'm very impressed."
Following another timeout, Black missed a sweeping lefty hook and the ball caromed out of bounds. The Lakers gained possession and took care of business from the free throw line.
Los Angeles outscored Houston 38-20 in the paint ... The Lakers are 2-0 this season with Young in the lineup ... The Lakers will look to make it three straight wins when they visit Dallas on Friday.