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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     LA LAKERS        23   22   20   22    87   
     HOUSTON          26   20   27   29    102     FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   LAL - SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 24, GARY PAYTON 19, 
                      KOBE BRYANT 14
                HOU - YAO MING 29, CUTTINO MOBLEY 21, STEVE 
                      FRANCIS 21

HIGH REBOUND:   LAL - SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 9, HORACE GRANT 6, TWO 
                      PLAYERS WITH 5
                HOU - YAO MING 11, JIMMY JACKSON 8, TWO 
                      PLAYERS WITH 7

HIGH ASSISTS:   LAL - SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 4, GARY PAYTON 3, KOBE 
                      BRYANT 3
                HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 10, STEVE FRANCIS 6, 
                      JIMMY JACKSON 2

         ATT:   18,218

Box Score

LA LAKERS (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp R Fox 28 3-7 0-0 3-5 2 1 6 S Medvedenko 22 1-13 1-2 2-5 1 3 3 S O'Neal 41 5-12 14-19 3-9 4 6 24 G Payton 37 8-11 1-2 0-3 3 0 19 K Bryant 36 4-7 2-2 0-1 3 3 14 H Grant 30 3-9 1-2 3-6 0 3 7 D George 20 2-6 0-1 0-4 2 1 4 K Rush 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 D Fisher 14 3-7 0-0 0-2 1 1 6 L Walton 3 0-1 2-2 0-0 1 0 2 B Russell 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 M Carter 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 30-75 21-30 11-35 17 18 87 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.400, FT-.700. 3-Point Goals: 6-12, .500 (G Payton 2-2, K Bryant 4-5, D George 0-3, D Fisher 0-1, L Walton 0-1). Team Rebounds: 13. Blocked Shots:4 (S O'Neal 4). Turnovers:10 (S O'Neal 3, R Fox 2, G Payton, K Bryant, D Fisher, D George, K Rush). Steals: 7 (G Payton 3, S O'Neal, D George, S Medvedenko, R Fox). HOUSTON (102) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp J Jackson 44 3-8 0-0 0-8 2 0 9 K Cato 28 2-5 0-0 1-7 0 4 4 Y Ming 37 10-21 9-11 3-11 1 5 29 S Francis 42 9-11 2-2 4-7 6 5 21 C Mobley 44 7-12 5-5 0-6 10 0 21 M Jackson 6 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 M Taylor 29 7-11 0-1 0-2 1 4 14 A Griffin 6 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 2 C Weatherspoon 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 B Nachbar 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 S Padgett 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 E Piatkowski DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-73 16-19 8-41 21 21 102 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.548, FT-.842. 3-Point Goals: 6-11, .545 (J Jackson 3-4, S Francis 1-2, C Mobley 2-4, M Jackson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots:4 (M Taylor, K Cato, C Mobley, Y Ming). Turnovers:12 (C Mobley 3, S Francis 3, J Jackson 2, Y Ming 2, M Taylor 2). Steals: 5 (S Francis 2, J Jackson, M Taylor, K Cato). ------------------------------------------- LA LAKERS 23 22 20 22 - 87 HOUSTON 26 20 27 29 - 102 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: La Lakers 1 (S O'Neal, 8:27 4th). A: 18,218. T: 2:24. Officials: Bennie Adams, Dan Crawford, James Capers.


Extended Box

LA LAKERS (87) AT HOUSTON (102) LA LAKERS REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === R FOX F 28 3-7 0-0 3 2 5 2 1 1 2 6 S MEDVEDENKO F 22 1-13 1-2 2 3 5 1 3 1 0 3 S O'NEAL C 41 5-12 14-19 3 6 9 4 6 1 3 24 G PAYTON G 37 8-11 1-2 0 3 3 3 0 3 1 19 K BRYANT G 36 4-7 2-2 0 1 1 3 3 0 1 14 H GRANT 30 3-9 1-2 3 3 6 0 3 0 0 7 D GEORGE 20 2-6 0-1 0 4 4 2 1 1 1 4 K RUSH 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 D FISHER 14 3-7 0-0 0 2 2 1 1 0 1 6 L WALTON 3 0-1 2-2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 B RUSSELL 2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 M CARTER 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 TOTALS 240 30-75 21-30 11 24 35 17 18 7 10 87 (.400) (.700) TEAM REBS: 13 TOTAL TO: 10 (20 PTS) HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === J JACKSON F 44 3-8 0-0 0 8 8 2 0 1 2 9 K CATO F 28 2-5 0-0 1 6 7 0 4 1 0 4 Y MING C 37 10-21 9-11 3 8 11 1 5 0 2 29 S FRANCIS G 42 9-11 2-2 4 3 7 6 5 2 3 21 C MOBLEY G 44 7-12 5-5 0 6 6 10 0 0 3 21 M JACKSON 6 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 M TAYLOR 29 7-11 0-1 0 2 2 1 4 1 2 14 A GRIFFIN 6 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 2 C WEATHERSPOON 1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B NACHBAR 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S PADGETT 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 E PIATKOWSKI DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 40-73 16-19 8 33 41 21 21 5 12 102 (.548) (.842) TEAM REBS: 1 TOTAL TO: 12 (10 PTS) LA LAKERS 23 22 20 22 - 87 HOUSTON 26 20 27 29 - 102 BLOCKED SHOTS: LA LAKERS - S O'NEAL 4. HOUSTON - M TAYLOR, K CATO, C MOBLEY, Y MING. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: LA LAKERS 6-12 (.500), G PAYTON 2-2, K BRYANT 4- 5, D GEORGE 0-3, D FISHER 0-1, L WALTON 0-1. HOUSTON 6-11 (.545), J JACKSON 3- 4, S FRANCIS 1-2, C MOBLEY 2-4, M JACKSON 0-1. TECHNICAL FOULS: NONE. FLAGRANT FOULS: LA LAKERS 1 (S O'NEAL, 8:27 4TH). OFFICIALS: BENNIE ADAMS, DAN CRAWFORD, JAMES CAPERS. A - 18,218. T - 2:24.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Yao Ming outplayed Shaquille O'Neal and ruined Kobe Bryant's return to the lineup. Yao scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Houston Rockets to a 102-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. "We played as a team tonight," Yao said through an interpreter. "Everybody played together and we had great chemistry on the floor. At least for one day, they couldn't guard just one or two of us." Elected over O'Neal as the starting center on the Western Conference All-Star team for the second straight year, Yao made 10-of-21 shots and 9-of-11 free throws. "He's a good player," said O'Neal, who was called for five fouls in the final period. "He made the shots, but he got the whistles, too. He's a big guy and has a soft touch, but I don't think he ever will be able to play me 1-on-1. Ever, ever, ever." Yao got a little help from his teammates as Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley added 21 points apiece. Mobley also had a season-high 10 assists to help Houston rebound from Monday's 85-82 home loss to San Antonio. The Lakers had a hard time containing Francis and Mobley. Francis shot 9-of-11 from the field while Mobley hit 7-of-12. "We passed the ball on top and got quality shots," Francis said. "I don't think I've ever seen Cuttino pass the ball like that." O'Neal had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers before fouling out with 3:20 to go. Gary Payton added 19 points as Los Angeles had its two-game winning streak snapped and finished 4-3 on its longest road trip of the season. Bryant returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a cut on his right index finger and finished with 14 points. "My hand feels pretty good," Bryant said. "It's a little tender. It was a nasty cut but it's been healing pretty well. I'm going to keep some tape around it, but I don't think it will be an adjustment. I think it will be fine." Houston opened the fourth period with a 12-4 run to build an 85-69 lead with 8:27 remaining. The Lakers got no closer than 12 points thereafter. Steve Francis hit two free throws after receiving a flagrant foul from O'Neal to cap the run. Yao's offensive aggression played a major role in O'Neal's disqualification. But the second-year player also struggled with foul trouble and finished with five fouls. "I think you have to make adjustments throughout the game if you're playing against the best player in the league," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "I thought Yao did that well. He went to his jump hook so he could protect the ball a little more." Houston won the first meeting between the teams, a 99-87 victory at Staples Center on Christmas. Matchups between the teams have been billed as duels between O'Neal and Yao. The 7-1 O'Neal has been the most dominant center in recent years while the 7-5 Yao has been looked upon as the heir apparent. The game was tied, 54-54, with 6:45 left in the third quarter. But Houston went on a 17-6 run over the next three minutes to build a 71-60 lead.


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