Thursday , Jan , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Mutombo throws block party as Rockets rout Lakers

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Juwan Howard had season-high 23 points and 11
rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers 102-77 at the
Toyota Center.

Rafer Alston added 20 points and Shane Battier tallied 17 points for the
Rockets, who hit 12-of-36 shots from three-point land on their way to their
second straight win.

Dikembe Mutombo moved into sole possession of second place on the NBA’s all-
time shots blocked list, recording five in the game to end with 3,191 and pass
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (3,189).

“Whether I decide to walk away next year or not, I have played the game
the way it’s supposed to be played and I have accomplished my goal,” said
Mutombo.

Mutombo added just seven points, but grabbed 19 rebounds for Houston, which
overcame a poor effort from superstar Tracy McGrady.

McGrady ended with only eight points, but did dish out 12 assists as the
Rockets ended a four-game slide to the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant had 20 points for the Lakers, who have lost two straight after a
four-game win streak. Bryant left the game with a groin strain.

The Rockets began to pull away at the end of the third quarter. After holding
a slim 47-46 lead at halftime, Houston extended to a 62-57 edge with just
under five minutes left in the third. It was at that point, the Rockets went
on a 10-1 run to end the frame to take a 72-58 lead into the fourth.

Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson was ejected with 15.3 seconds left in the
quarter, leading to a pair of free throws by Howard that ended the run.

Houston put the game out of reach in the fourth. After Maurice Evans drew the
Lakers within 72-60, the Rockets scored the next eight points to go ahead by
20. Howard scored the final six points of the surge, staking Houston to an
80-60 cushion.

“It was one of those situations when one of our guys drove to the basket and
got knocked into the first row of seats,” said Jackson of his ejection. “I
really don’t want to talk about it. It’s not worth it.”

Los Angeles never threatened after that, falling behind by as many as 26
points.

Game Notes

Hakeem Olajuwon is the all-time leader in blocked shots with 3,830…Houston
improved to 13-3 at home…LA fell to 7-9 on the road.

HOU LAL