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November 6, 2009

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Lakers edge Rockets in OT thriller

KOBE Bryant scored 41 points to guide the Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-102 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Andrew Bynum made three successive free throws for the National Basketball Association champions Lakers (4-1) in the extra session, including one that broke a 102-102 tie with 24 seconds remaining.

"We have experience in winning games and toughing it out," Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom told reporters.

"Kobe did a great job of taking over the game offensively and Bynum dominated the game with his rebounding."

Bynum finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds while the Rockets had six players in double figures, Carl Landry leading the home team with 20.

Former Rockets forward Ron Artest scored a three-pointer that put the Lakers up 92-89 with 30 seconds remaining before Houston's Trevor Ariza, who helped the Lakers to last season's NBA title, answered with his own three-pointer to force overtime.

"It was poetic justice that both (players) had a chance to make big shots," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "I thought we had the game in hand (with Artest's shot). It was a great game."

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was: Magic 122, Suns 100; Celtics 92, Timberwolves 90; Nuggets 122, Nets 94; Heat 93, Wizards 89; Raptors 110, Pistons 99; Pacers 101, Knicks 89; Hornets 114, Mavericks 107 (in overtime); Hawks 113, Kings 105; and Warriors 113, Grizzlies 105.

In Houston, Bryant, the MVP of last season's NBA finals, made 15-of-30 shots from the field in his 98th career 40-point effort.

The Lakers trailed by seven early in the fourth before Bryant made 10 points in a row for his team. In overtime, he twice put the Lakers ahead with jump shots and tallied six points in the extra session.

Ariza had 15 points and nine rebounds for Houston (3-2) while Chuck Hayes had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Luis Scola finished with 16 and 13, respectively.

In Orlando, Florida, Ryan Anderson had 20 and 10 rebounds and Dwight Howard scored 25 as the short-handed Magic defeated the previously unbeaten Suns 122-100.

Playing without injured Vince Carter and suspended Rashard Lewis, the Magic built a 23-point lead in the third quarter to pull away from Phoenix.

Amare Stoudemire finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix, which was looking to match the 1984 team for the franchise's best start through five games.

In Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds in his third game back in Minnesota since he was traded in 2007, helping Boston remain undefeated with a victory over the Timberwolves.

Rajon Rondo scored 14 of his 18 points in the third quarter for the Celtics (6-0), who join the Nuggets as the only two teams in the league without a loss.

Oleksiy Pecherov scored a career-high 24 points and Al Jefferson added 18 points for the Timberwolves.

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony woke up unbeaten Denver in a 44-point third quarter to continue its best start since 1985.

The win was the fifth straight for the Nuggets, one shy of the 1985 start, and they handed winless New Jersey a fifth straight loss, tying the worst start in team history, set in 1996.

Chris Douglas-Roberts had 19 points to lead the Nets, who were without All-Star guard Devin Harris, Yi Jianlian and three other injured players.


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