Battier three with 2.5 seconds left lifts Rockets to victory.
Booed a little in intros, Kobe set out to prove he is no slouch and set to take it out on the Rockets. Both teams were tight early culminating in an abundance of missed shots, but when Kobe scored the first bucket of the game on a left handed lay up off glass, you knew he was about to explode. He finished with 19 pts. at half, another 18 in the fourth quarter–almost willing the Lakers back from 12 down with less than two minutes left–and 45 for the game. (If you remember yesterday I said Kobe would get 45 in a loss. Never seems to work when I play the Powerball though.) Kobe was 13-32 from the field and went to the line a ridiculous 27 times, but had nine of the Laker’s 18 misses from the charity stripe. Tracy McGrady hit for 30 and Yao Ming scored 25 and ripped down 12 to aid in a team victory. With all the trade rumors surrounding the team leading up to opening night, Kobe seemed contrite when asked about the fan reaction: