Kobe, Lakers seize 2-1 lead on Rockets
Kobe Bryant took the inbounds pass, dribbled away from Ron Artest and swished a shot from 33 feet to end the third quarter.
He struck a frozen pose after another signature moment, sending a clear message to the hostile crowd that he and the Los Angeles Lakers are in control of their Western Conference semifinal.
Bryant scored 33 points in the Lakers' 108-94 victory in Game 3 on Friday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in the series.
"I'm just doing what I do best," Bryant said, "just challenging other teams to try to do something with me. We, as a team, play off of that. It's on me to be aggressive."
Lamar Odom had 16 points and 13 rebounds and reserve point guard Jordan Farmar had 12 points and seven assists in place of the suspended Derek Fisher, who was ejected from Game 2 for a hard hit on Luis Scola when he set a pick.
Artest, who scored 25 points, was ejected for a flagrant foul on Pau Gasol in the final minute, the only carryover of the rough play that turned testy in Game 2. Artest was ejected from Game 2 for a verbal altercation with Bryant following Bryant's elbow to Artest's upper chest.
Artest was OK with the call in Friday's game, adding that two of the referees explained why they called it that way.
"Just the end of the game, keeping things in control," Artest said.
Yao Ming added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets but he was bothered by a sore left foot in the final minutes and was limping as he left the court.
Yao said he would test the injury by running on Saturday and vowed he will play in Game 4 on Sunday.