Final / OT

Los Angeles wins series 4-1 (Game 4 of 5)

Los Angeles wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 17th
Game 2: Monday, April 19th
Game 3: Friday, April 23rd
Game 4: Sunday, April 25th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 28th

Lakers 92

(56-26, 22-19 away)

Rockets 88


2:30 PM ET, April 25, 2004

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 OT T
LAL 21 24 24 12 1192
HOU 24 17 18 22 788

Top Performers

LAL: K. Malone 30 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

Hou: J. Jackson 16 Pts, 20 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

LA Lakers at Houston 3:30 pm EDT

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Rockets try to even their Western Conference first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers at two games apiece on Sunday when they match up at the Toyota Center.

After losing the first two contests in Los Angeles, the Rockets posted a 102-91 triumph here in Game Three on Friday.

Steve Francis collected 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Cuttino Mobley added 21 points and Yao Ming 18 for Houston, which made nine 3-pointers after totaling just five in the first two games.

Shaquille O'Neal had 25 points for the Lakers but had just four in the middle two quarters.

MEANINGFUL MATCHUP: Francis vs. Gary Payton. In Game Three, Payton scored just seven points in 31 minutes, misfiring on nine of his 12 shots. He earned the nickname "The Glove" for his tenacious defense, but at 35, he has lost a step or two and allowed Francis to have another big game. The future Hall of Famer was benched in the fourth quarter for a second straight game and was not happy about it.


Lakers: F Karl Malone had an excellent Game Three, collecting 18 points and 11 rebounds and playing some defense on Yao to help keep O'Neal out of foul trouble.

Rockets: Francis is not affected by appearing in his first postseason, averaging 21 points, 9.3 rebounds and eight assists.


Lakers: Payton has scored just 26 points in the first three games of the series. F Rick Fox was held scoreless in Game Three.

Rockets: F Kelvin Cato has just 12 points in the first three games and has gotten in frequent foul trouble.

STREAKS: The Lakers had a four-game winning streak against the Rockets snapped.

SEASON SERIES & HISTORY: The clubs have split six all-time playoff series, with the Lakers holding a 14-12 edge in wins. The Rockets are 7-4 at home, including 1-0 here. The last time the two clubs met in the postseason, 1999, the Lakers took the best-of-five first-round series in four games.


Lakers: F Slava Medvedenko (strained right Achilles tendon) is doubtful. Rockets: None.