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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     HOUSTON          23   17   26   19    85   
     LA LAKERS        18   29   20   26    93      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 26, STEVE FRANCIS 17, 
                      JIMMY JACKSON 13
                LAL - KOBE BRYANT 26, KARL MALONE 20, 
                      SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 18

HIGH REBOUND:   HOU - JIMMY JACKSON 12, YAO MING 8, STEVE 
                      FRANCIS 5
                LAL - KARL MALONE 14, GARY PAYTON 13, 
                      SHAQUILLE O'NEAL 8

HIGH ASSISTS:   HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 8, JIMMY JACKSON 3, YAO 
                      MING 3
                LAL - KARL MALONE 6, KOBE BRYANT 4, DEREK 
                      FISHER 3

         ATT:   18,997

Box Score

HOUSTON (85) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp J Jackson 40 5-15 1-1 2-12 3 5 13 M Taylor 26 3-4 4-4 1-1 1 6 10 Y Ming 33 3-15 0-0 0-8 3 3 6 C Mobley 45 12-23 0-0 0-3 1 1 26 S Francis 42 5-12 5-5 1-5 8 4 17 C Weatherspoon 28 4-6 1-2 1-4 1 4 9 C Oakley 8 0-3 1-2 0-1 1 3 1 M Jackson 6 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 E Piatkowski 11 0-2 1-2 0-1 0 0 1 S Padgett 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 B Nachbar DNP - COACH'S DECISION M Wilks DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-81 13-16 5-35 19 27 85 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.407, FT-.813. 3-Point Goals: 6-14, .429 (J Jackson 2-5, C Mobley 2-5, S Francis 2-3, E Piatkowski 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:6 (Y Ming 2, C Weatherspoon, M Taylor, C Mobley, S Francis). Turnovers:17 (J Jackson 5, S Francis 5, M Taylor 2, C Mobley 2, C Weatherspoon, M Jackson, Y Ming). Steals: 11 (C Weatherspoon 3, S Francis 3, J Jackson 2, C Mobley 2, M Taylor). LA LAKERS (93) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp R Fox 30 1-3 3-4 3-4 0 0 6 K Malone 37 5-12 10-10 4-14 6 3 20 S O'Neal 43 7-17 4-10 3-8 0 4 18 K Bryant 45 8-19 9-12 2-7 4 2 26 G Payton 38 4-13 4-6 4-13 2 3 12 D Fisher 13 0-3 0-0 1-2 3 1 0 S Medvedenko 13 1-6 0-0 0-5 1 1 2 D George 18 3-4 0-0 0-3 1 0 9 B Cook 2 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 1 0 L Walton 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 B Russell DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 29-77 30-42 18-58 17 15 93 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.377, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals: 5-9, .556 (R Fox 1-1, K Malone 0-1, K Bryant 1-2, G Payton 0-1, D George 3-4). Team Rebounds: 12. Blocked Shots:3 (S O'Neal, K Malone, K Bryant). Turnovers:21 (K Malone 6, K Bryant 6, S O'Neal 4, G Payton 3, R Fox, D George). Steals: 15 (K Bryant 5, R Fox 3, K Malone 2, D George 2, S O'Neal, G Payton, D Fisher). ------------------------------------------- HOUSTON 23 17 26 19 - 85 LA LAKERS 18 29 20 26 - 93 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Houston - 1 (S Francis, 0:35 2nd). La Lakers - 1 (K Malone, 3:01 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,997. T: 2:39. Officials: Derrick Stafford, Leon Wood, Steve Javie.


Extended Box

HOUSTON (85) AT LA LAKERS (93) HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === J JACKSON F 40 5-15 1-1 2 10 12 3 5 2 5 13 M TAYLOR F 26 3-4 4-4 1 0 1 1 6 1 2 10 Y MING C 33 3-15 0-0 0 8 8 3 3 0 1 6 C MOBLEY G 45 12-23 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 2 2 26 S FRANCIS G 42 5-12 5-5 1 4 5 8 4 3 5 17 C WEATHERSPOON 28 4-6 1-2 1 3 4 1 4 3 1 9 C OAKLEY 8 0-3 1-2 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 1 M JACKSON 6 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 E PIATKOWSKI 11 0-2 1-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 S PADGETT 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 B NACHBAR DNP - COACH'S DECISION M WILKS DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 33-81 13-16 5 30 35 19 27 11 17 85 (.407) (.813) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 17 (17 PTS) LA LAKERS REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === R FOX F 30 1-3 3-4 3 1 4 0 0 3 1 6 K MALONE F 37 5-12 10-10 4 10 14 6 3 2 6 20 S O'NEAL C 43 7-17 4-10 3 5 8 0 4 1 4 18 K BRYANT G 45 8-19 9-12 2 5 7 4 2 5 6 26 G PAYTON G 38 4-13 4-6 4 9 13 2 3 1 3 12 D FISHER 13 0-3 0-0 1 1 2 3 1 1 0 0 S MEDVEDENKO 13 1-6 0-0 0 5 5 1 1 0 0 2 D GEORGE 18 3-4 0-0 0 3 3 1 0 2 1 9 B COOK 2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 L WALTON 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 B RUSSELL DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 29-77 30-42 18 40 58 17 15 15 21 93 (.377) (.714) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 21 (11 PTS) HOUSTON 23 17 26 19 - 85 LA LAKERS 18 29 20 26 - 93 BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - Y MING 2, C WEATHERSPOON, M TAYLOR, C MOBLEY, S FRANCIS. LA LAKERS - S O'NEAL, K MALONE, K BRYANT. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 6-14 (.429), J JACKSON 2-5, C MOBLEY 2- 5, S FRANCIS 2-3, E PIATKOWSKI 0-1. LA LAKERS 5-9 (.556), R FOX 1- 1, K MALONE 0-1, K BRYANT 1-2, G PAYTON 0-1, D GEORGE 3-4. TECHNICAL FOULS: HOUSTON - S FRANCIS. LA LAKERS - K MALONE. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: DERRICK STAFFORD, LEON WOOD, STEVE JAVIE. A - 18,997. T - 2:39.


Game Story

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Shaquille O'Neal overpowered Yao Ming, helping the Los Angeles Lakers power their way to the top of the Western Conference. O'Neal outplayed Yao and the Lakers matched a season high with their 10th straight win, 93-85 over the struggling Houston Rockets. Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Gary Payton also had big games for the star-studded Lakers (52-23), who tied the Sacramento Kings atop the Pacific Division and the conference. "We are proud of ourselves and we're having a blast," Bryant said. "I don't know what comes first, having a blast or winning." As usual, much of the focus was the matchup between O'Neal and Yao, who had the edge in the first three meetings this season. O'Neal made sure the final meeting went his way. O'Neal totaled 18 points and eight rebounds. His signature play was a powerful dunk over Yao with 7:48 remaining, giving the Lakers a 74-69 lead. "We have been doing well these past 10 games," O'Neal said. "We want to get some momentum." It was an entirely different night for Yao, who went scoreless in the second half and finished with six points on 3-of-15 shooting. He averaged 26.7 points on 55 percent shooting in the first three games vs. Los Angeles. "He put a lot of pressure on me," Yao said of O'Neal. "He didn't give me a lot of space to adjust my shot, so I think (his defense) had a big effect. But in the latter part of the game, he came off me and I just couldn't put the ball in the hole." Cuttino Mobley scored 26 points to lead the Rockets, who were outrebounded, 58-35, and lost for the sixth time in nine games. "We normally outrebound our opponents. That just wasn't the case,," said Houston guard Steve Francis, who had 17 points and eight assists. "And once you get three fouls in the first quarter, like Yao and I did, it takes a lot of your aggression away." Mobley had the final five points in a 15-2 run that opened the second half as the Rockets erased a seven-point deficit and took a 55-49 lead. But Bryant, who was limited to five points in the first half, came to life. He capped a 15-4 run with a driving dunk, giving the Lakers a 64-59 advantage. Bryant scored 15 of his 26 points in the third quarter as Los Angeles carried a 67-66 lead into the final period. Bryant and O'Neal, who have won three NBA titles with the Lakers, also had help from Malone and Payton. Malone collected 20 points, 14 rebounds and six assists while Payton had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Malone and Payton helped Los Angeles overcome 38 percent (29-of-77) shooting and 21 turnovers. "They are a team that always causes us trouble," Malone said. "It is not pretty, but it is about how you execute, and we came back, tied them and then took the lead. Then we executed and did things down the stretch that we needed to do." Mobley's layup with 7:25 remaining pulled the Rockets within 74-71. But Malone scored on a runner across the lane and Payton made a layup and two free throws, pushing the lead to nine with 5:16 left. Jim Jackson added 13 points for Houston, which shot 41 percent (33-of-81). "Defensively, we've got to do three things - defend, which was OK; rebounding, totally outworked; and turnovers, just too many," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "But we were right in the game and we just didn't do enough to win."


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