Thursday , Apr , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers go for 10th straight win

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The red hot Los Angeles Lakers go for
their 10th straight win tonight, as they welcome Yao Ming and the Houston
Rockets to the Staples Center.

The Lakers, who won 10 in a row earlier this season from November 19 to
December 9, are in second place in the Pacific Division, one game behind
the Sacramento Kings. The Rockets are in seventh place in the Western
Conference, 3 1/2 games behind sixth-place Dallas.

This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two
squads. The teams split a pair of games at the Toyota Center, while the
Rockets defeated the Lakers, 99-87, on December 25th at the Staples Center.

The Lakers posted a 107-88 thumping of the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples
Center. Kobe Bryant scored 23 points and handed out six assists to pace the
Lakers to the victory.

Gary Payton finished with 20 points and six assists in the win for the Lakers,
who have ripped off nine straight wins and have won 21 of their last 26
contests overall.

Bryant has scored at least 22 points in nine straight games. He has averaged
30.8 points in that span.

LA is an impressive 31-5 as the host this season.

The Rockets come into tonight’s game off a tough loss. On Monday, Houston
dropped a 94-88 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center.
Cuttino Mobley, Steve Francis and Maurice Taylor had 17 points apiece for the
Rockets, while Yao finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Yao has averaged 19.4 points and 11.4 rebounds in his last 10 games.

Houston, which has won two of its last three as the visitor, is 16-19 on the
road this season.

The Lakers have won three of the last five meetings in this series.
Houston has won two of its last three at the Lakers.