By Cardell Dudley
It was a game billed as a match-up of the NBA's two most imposing centers, the Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O' Neal and the Houston Rockets rapidly improving 7'5 center Yao Ming. The two forces of nature would have their moments, however in this game, it was all about the duel between two of the deadliest guards in the game, the Lakers Kobe Bryant and the Rockets Steve Francis. The Lakers, the 3-time defending champions were looking to add their fourth in a row while the Rockets were looking to make their push into title contention. As you would expect both teams came to play and it had the feel of a playoff game. The Rockets led by Francis (44 points a career high, and 11 assist) would pull out the home win in overtime over the defending world champions thanks to a clutch assist from Francis to emerging center Yao Ming (10 points/10 rebounds/ 6 blocks) in the closing seconds of overtime. Bryant finished the game one assist shy of a triple double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assist while O' Neal added 31 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assist. Take a look at how it all unfolded below.