Friday , Mar , 30 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets aim to splash Lakers

(Sports Network) – The playoff-bound Houston Rockets try to collect their
third straight win when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at the
Staples Center.

Houston, which has already clinched a berth in the postseason, is the fifth
seed in the Western Conference, while the Lakers are No. 6 and have a 2 1/2
game lead over the seventh-seeded Denver Nuggets.

The Rockets attempt to sweep a two-game swing against the LA teams. Shane
Battier hit the go-ahead three-pointer with under a minute left, as Houston
beat the playoff-hopeful Clippers, 92-87, on Wednesday at the Staples Center.

Tracy McGrady scored 27 points and fellow All-Star Yao Ming ended with 24
points and 15 rebounds in the win for Houston. Rafer Alston had 14 points and
Chuck Hayes contributed 10 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who have
won seven of their last eight games overall.

Houston is 20-16 on the road this season. After tonight’s game, the Rockets
return to Texas for a three-game homestand. They will host Utah, Golden State
and Portland at the Toyota Center.

The Lakers play the third of a five-game homestand. They are 1-1 on the
current stand. On Tuesday, Tarence Kinsey poured in a career-high 24 points to
lead the Memphis Grizzlies past the Lakers, 88-86, at the Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant, whose streak of scoring at least 50 points ended Sunday, had 23
points on 7-of-26 shooting from the floor for the Lakers, who had a five-game
winning streak halted. Luke Walton finished with 15 points and Smush Parker
netted 14 in defeat.

The Lakers are 23-12 as the host this season. They will finish the homestand
with games against the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets.

On the injury front for the Lakers, center Kwame Brown (sore left ankle) is
doubtful for tonight’s contest. Brown, who did not play against Memphis, is
averaging 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in just 36 games this season.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the campaign between the clubs. The
Lakers are 2-1 against the Rockets this season, and have won four of the last
six contests in the series.

Houston has lost two straight after winning its last two at the Lakers.