Rockets get No. 22, first place

The Rockets’ Shane Battier, who scored 14, tries to find room to maneuver around the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.

Associated Press

The Rockets’ Shane Battier, who scored 14, tries to find room to maneuver around the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.

HOUSTON — Tracy McGrady had carried the Rockets through their winning streak since Yao Ming went down with a foot injury.

On Sunday, it was everyone else's turn to help him.

Rafer Alston scored 31 and hit eight 3-pointers, both career highs, and the Rockets beat the Lakers 104-92 to stretch their streak to 22 and claim sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.

Kobe Bryant scored 24 for the Lakers and smothered McGrady on defense, helping hold the Houston star to 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting.

The rest of the Rockets made up for it. Shane Battier scored 14 and shadowed Bryant most of the game, backup point guard Bobby Jackson added 19 points and Luis Scola had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

"There wasn't a time where we wavered from successful team basketball," Battier said. "Different guys hit shots, and we tightened the reins on defense."

The Rockets have won 26 of their past 27 and 31 of their past 34. They've won 15 straight at the Toyota Center, 10 straight since Yao went out with a broken foot and 11 of their past 13 by double digits.

Houston hasn't been beaten since a 97-89 loss to Utah on Jan. 27.

"Let's keep it going," McGrady said. "This was a good test for us. We came out and took care of business."

Critics continue to dismiss Houston's streak as a fluke, saying the Rockets have played a bunch of bad teams. McGrady hopes this win silences some of the skeptics, even though the Lakers were missing Pau Gasol, who is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle.

"This was really all about how good the Rockets are," McGrady said. "This is what this game was about, the Lakers coming in here at the top of the Western Conference. This game determined where we are."

Alston had 16 points in the first quarter, and Houston's reserves scored 25 in the first half.

L.A. LAKERS (92): Radmanovic 1-3 2-2 5, Odom 7-10 3-6 17, Turiaf 3-4 7-9 13, Fisher 2-6 1-1 6, Bryant 11-33 2-4 24, Farmar 3-8 0-0 8, Mbenga 1-4 1-2 3, Vujacic 2-5 2-2 7, Walton 3-7 3-4 9. Totals 33-80 21-30 92.

HOUSTON (104): Battier 5-12 2-2 14, Scola 3-9 7-9 13, Mutombo 0-1 0-0 0, Alston 10-22 3-4 31, McGrady 4-16 3-6 11, Hayes 1-4 1-1 3, Harris 3-6 0-0 6, Jackson 7-9 3-3 19, Head 2-4 3-4 7. Totals 35-83 22-29 104.

L.A. Lakers 23 21 22 26— 92

Houston 24 35 12 33— 104

3-Point GoalsL.A. Lakers 5-16 (Farmar 2-6, Radmanovic 1-1, Vujacic 1-1, Fisher 1-3, Walton 0-1, Bryant 0-4), Houston 12-26 (Alston 8-11, Jackson 2-4, Battier 2-7, McGrady 0-4). Fouled OutTuriaf. ReboundsL.A. Lakers 53 (Odom 11), Houston 58 (Scola 11). AssistsL.A. Lakers 15 (Farmar, Fisher 3), Houston 16 (McGrady 6). Total FoulsL.A. Lakers 20, Houston 21. TechnicalsOdom, Radmanovic, Vujacic, Alston, Houston defensive three second. A18,409 (18,500).

Cavaliers 98, Bobcats 91

CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 33 and the Cavaliers held off a late Bobcats' rally.

Ben Wallace scored his only two baskets of the game, Delonte West added a jumper and James hit a bank shot in the lane in the final two minutes as the Cavaliers held on after nearly squandering an 11-point lead early in the fourth.

Jason Richardson led Charlotte with 33 points.

CHARLOTTE (91): Richardson 13-24 1-1 33, Okafor 4-13 2-4 10, Mohammed 4-10 1-2 9, Felton 6-14 1-4 14, Carroll 2-4 0-0 4, G.Wallace 5-13 0-1 10, Dudley 0-3 0-0 0, Boykins 2-4 0-1 5, Davidson 1-2 0-0 2, Hollins 0-0 2-2 2, Anderson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 38-88 7-15 91.

CLEVELAND (98): James 11-24 10-16 33, B.Wallace 2-4 0-0 4, Ilgauskas 7-11 2-2 16, West 3-12 0-0 7, Pavlovic 4-9 2-4 11, Varejao 0-3 2-2 2, Brown 3-7 3-4 10, Smith 2-5 0-0 4, Da.Jones 2-3 2-2 8, Szczerbiak 1-4 1-1 3. Totals 35-82 22-31 98.

Charlotte 19 21 23 28— 91

Cleveland 27 20 28 23— 98

3-Point GoalsCharlotte 8-23 (Richardson 6-11, Boykins 1-1, Felton 1-3, Dudley 0-1, Carroll 0-1, G.Wallace 0-6), Cleveland 6-21 (Da.Jones 2-3, James 1-3, Brown 1-3, Pavlovic 1-4, West 1-6, Szczerbiak 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCharlotte 54 (Mohammed, Okafor 12), Cleveland 60 (B.Wallace 15). AssistsCharlotte 20 (Felton 9), Cleveland 23 (James 10). Total FoulsCharlotte 22, Cleveland 16. TechnicalsCharlotte defensive three second, Cleveland defensive three second. A20,562 (20,562).

Hawks 109, Knicks 98

NEW YORK — Joe Johnson had 28 points and 11 assists, and the Hawks moved into a tie with the Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

ATLANTA (109): Smith 6-11 2-2 15, Williams 12-19 1-4 25, Horford 3-6 2-2 8, Johnson 10-21 3-3 28, Bibby 2-11 0-0 4, Pachulia 1-1 1-2 3, Childress 6-8 9-10 22, Law 0-3 2-4 2, S.Jones 0-2 2-2 2, J.Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, West 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-82 22-29 109.

NEW YORK (98): Chandler 1-9 2-2 4, Lee 6-7 0-0 12, Randolph 5-11 3-3 13, Robinson 9-22 4-5 23, Crawford 1-7 2-2 4, Morris 4-8 0-5 8, Balkman 3-4 3-10 9, Jeffries 2-6 0-0 4, F.Jones 6-16 1-1 14, Collins 3-4 0-0 7. Totals 40-94 15-28 98.

Atlanta 21 32 32 24— 109

New York 20 29 30 19— 98

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 7-16 (Johnson 5-9, Childress 1-1, Smith 1-1, S.Jones 0-1, Bibby 0-4), New York 3-16 (Collins 1-1, Robinson 1-3, F.Jones 1-5, Jeffries 0-1, Randolph 0-2, Crawford 0-4). Fouled OutMorris. ReboundsAtlanta 61 (Horford 10), New York 55 (Lee 9). AssistsAtlanta 24 (Johnson 11), New York 17 (Robinson 5). Total FoulsAtlanta 20, New York 24. A19,763 (19,763).

Pistons 105, Hornets 84

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jarvis Hayes scored 29, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, to lead the Pistons to their fourth win in five games.

NEW ORLEANS (84): Stojakovic 8-15 3-3 21, Ely 7-11 1-3 15, Chandler 4-9 0-2 8, Paul 6-12 1-2 14, Peterson 2-6 0-0 4, Wright 4-12 2-2 10, Wells 3-6 2-2 8, Pargo 1-8 2-2 4, Bowen 0-0 0-0 0, James 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 35-81 11-16 84.

DETROIT (105): Prince 5-13 2-2 13, McDyess 2-4 0-0 4, Wallace 4-7 0-0 10, Billups 6-10 3-3 17, Hamilton 3-10 1-1 8, Maxiell 3-6 3-6 9, Hayes 10-13 2-2 29, Stuckey 3-6 2-2 8, Ratliff 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Afflalo 1-1 0-0 2, Dixon 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 39-74 13-16 105.

New Orleans 26 18 22 18— 84

Detroit 21 34 22 28— 105

3-Point GoalsNew Orleans 3-18 (Stojakovic 2-6, Paul 1-3, Peterson 0-2, Wright 0-3, Pargo 0-4), Detroit 14-21 (Hayes 7-8, Wallace 2-3, Billups 2-4, Dixon 1-2, Prince 1-2, Hamilton 1-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsNew Orleans 47 (Stojakovic 9), Detroit 42 (McDyess 11). AssistsNew Orleans 17 (Paul 14), Detroit 25 (Hamilton 6). Total FoulsNew Orleans 17, Detroit 17. TechnicalsNew Orleans defensive three second, Billups, Wallace. A22,076 (22,076).

Mavericks 98, Heat 73

MIAMI — Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 before sitting out most of the second half, and the Mavs stormed out to a huge early lead then coasted.Dallas has beaten the Heat in each of the past eight regular-season meetings. Heat forward Shawn Marion missed his second straight game with a back injury.

DALLAS (98): Jo.Howard 7-14 1-2 15, Nowitzki 7-11 5-7 21, Dampier 1-2 1-2 3, Kidd 2-3 0-0 5, Stackhouse 3-6 5-5 12, Terry 5-10 3-3 14, Lue 2-7 0-0 4, George 0-6 1-2 1, Bass 7-9 0-0 14, Allen 3-4 0-0 6, A.Wright 1-3 0-0 3, Ju.Howard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-75 16-21 98.

MIAMI (73): Davis 2-5 0-2 5, Johnson 3-7 1-1 7, Blount 4-10 1-2 9, Williams 3-11 0-0 6, Cook 5-12 0-0 11, Barron 9-14 3-5 21, B.Jones 1-2 2-3 4, Anthony 1-5 0-2 2, Quinn 1-3 6-6 8. Totals 29-69 13-21 73.

Dallas 35 17 32 14— 98

Miami 12 18 23 20— 73

3-Point GoalsDallas 6-17 (Nowitzki 2-2, Kidd 1-1, A.Wright 1-2, Stackhouse 1-3, Terry 1-3, Lue 0-1, Jo.Howard 0-2, George 0-3), Miami 2-9 (Davis 1-1, Cook 1-4, B.Jones 0-1, Williams 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDallas 51 (Kidd, Jo.Howard, Dampier 6), Miami 39 (Cook 8). AssistsDallas 19 (Kidd 5), Miami 17 (Quinn 6). Total FoulsDallas 19, Miami 15. TechnicalsMiami Bench. A19,304 (19,600).

Rockets 104

Lakers 92

Rockets get No. 22, first place 03/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:41am]

    

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