By Ben Golliver
November 08, 2013

The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant in their first grudge match against Dwight Howard, but that didn't stop them from claiming a last-second victory. 

Steve Blake knocked down the game-winning three-pointer over Howard with 1.3 seconds remaining to defeat the Rockets 99-98 in Houston on Thursday.

The shot provided a dramatic conclusion to a crazy game that saw plenty of head-slapping mistakes by both sides. L.A. nearly turned over the ball on multiple occasions during its final possession, before the ball went out of bounds on the baseline with three seconds left. After a 20-second time out, Lakers guard Jodie Meeks inbounded to Blake, who came open at the left angle thanks to high screens from Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. Howard, his former Lakers teammate, came rushing out to contest the shot, but he was too late, as Blake drained a catch-and-shoot three-pointer that sent the Lakers' bench into celebration mode.

"I said a prayer before I went out there, let me get a shot," Blake said in a post-game interview with TNT. "I was able to get open, get a little curl action, confuse them, got open and made the shot. ... Steve [Nash] and I were going to curl around each other and see if they made a mistake. They did and I was able to come off of it and Jodie made a good pass."

Steve Blake knocks down the game-winner over Dwight Howard. (Bill Baptist/Getty Images)Steve Blake knocks down the game-winner over Dwight Howard. (Bill Baptist/Getty Images)

Houston couldn't get a clean look on its ensuing possession, and L.A. walked off with a one-point victory.

Blake finished with 14 points (on 5-of-10 shooting), three rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. Meeks paced the Lakers with a team-high 18 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) off the bench.

James Harden led the Rockets with a game-high 35 points (on 9-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. Howard had 15 points (on 5-of-10 shooting) and 14 rebounds in his first game against his former team.

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