Thursday , Feb , 12 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – February 12

=== Los Angeles Lakers Team Report – February 12 ===

(Sports Network) – The Lakers finished their first half on a sour note
Wednesday evening, as they fell 102-87 to the Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets
at the Toyota Center.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 24 points and hauled down nine boards, while Gary
Payton chipped in 19 points for the Lakers, who had a two-game winning streak
snapped.

Yao Ming actually outplayed O’Neal, putting up 29 points and 11 rebounds in
the contest.

Kobe Bryant returned to the Lakers’ lineup after missing seven consecutive
games with a lacerated finger, going 4-for-5 from three-point range and
finishing with 14 points in 36 minutes. Bryant had 15 stitches removed from a
jagged cut in his right index finger Monday morning.

The Lakers finished their season-long, seven-game road trip with a 4-3 mark.
Los Angeles has a 11-15 road mark this season.

Los Angeles will have just under a week to rest during the All-Star break. The
Lakers will return to the hardwood versus Portland on Tuesday at Staples
Center.

LAL