Kobe Bryant had 29 points, Wesley Johnson made key free throws down the stretch and the Los Angeles Lakers took advantage of Dwight Howard's absence Wednesday night in a 98-92 victory over the Houston Rockets.

It was the second consecutive win for the Lakers following a 1-9 start.

Los Angeles used a 7-1 run, highlighted by Bryant's three-point play and capped by four free throws from Johnson, to take a 94-92 lead with less than a minute left. Nick Young and Bryant added two free throws apiece to secure the victory.

Tarik Black, a rookie who was filling in for the injured Howard, missed a free throw and a jump shot down the stretch.

James Harden led the Rockets with 24 points.