Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/15

Game 1: Thursday, November 15th
Game 2: Thursday, December 20th
Game 3: Sunday, December 30th
Game 4: Sunday, March 3rd

Lakers 107

(19-3, 6-2 away)

Rockets 101


    Coverage: KTXH

    8:00 PM ET, December 20, 2001

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 27 26 29 25107
    HOU 21 30 17 33101

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 27 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Hou: E. Griffin 25 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 Blk

    Rockets put up a fight, but slide continues

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Even a hobbled Derek Fisher was enough to help the Los Angeles Lakers deal the Houston Rockets yet another loss.

    Shaquille O'Neal


    Shaquille O'Neal had 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks Thursday.

    Fisher scored 23 points, making seven of nine 3-pointers, and Kobe Bryant had 27 points as the Lakers beat the Rockets 107-101 Thursday night, Houston's 15th straight defeat.

    The Lakers, 25th in the NBA in 3-point shooting, were 12-for-20 (60 percent) from long range.

    Fisher is recovering from right foot surgery in October.

    "He's not 100 percent, but he's close," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Somewhere in the middle of January he's to be moving as quickly and as freely as we'd like."

    Fisher credited Shaquille O'Neal, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds, with making things easier for him on the outside.

    "They were paying a lot of attention to Shaquille in the middle. That opened up a lot of space for us," Fisher said.

    "On the road, you've got to be really sound. You have to refuse temptation and not do things that are risky. We did a better job of executing tonight."

    The Lakers led by 14 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Rockets made a charge behind Cuttino Mobley, who had eight points in the first five minutes of the period.

    Houston got to 88-87 on a pair of free throws by Moochie Norris after the Lakers missed baskets on three consecutive possessions. The Rockets drew within one again, at 90-89 with 5:11 to go, but they couldn't catch the Lakers.

    "I'm proud of the way we played," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "Sometimes I wonder how we do it. We fought and fought and gave them a good game."

    The Rockets' losing streak is two short of the franchise record of 17, set in the 1967-68 season. They had a separate slide of 15 in a row that same season en route to a 15-67 record.

    The NBA single-season record is 23 consecutive losses, set by Vancouver in 1995-96, and tied by Denver in 1997-98.

    Rookie Eddie Griffin had career highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets, while Mobley added 18 points, and Norris had 15 points and 10 assists.

    "I got more minutes and more into the flow of the game," Griffin said. "I just felt comfortable. One thing I've noticed with this coach, every time you get a play that works, he keeps going to it. People think of me as a big-game player. I just try to do as much as I can."

    The Rockets kept it close in the first half, holding the Lakers to a 53-51 lead at intermission. But Fisher made three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and the Lakers led 82-68 lead to start the final period.

    The Lakers led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter despite Griffin's 19 first-half points. His career best for an entire game before Thursday was 16 points.

    "As I said before the game, you don't know what you're going to get out of players you've never seen before," Jackson said. "We gave some guys career highs. They kept them in the game."

    Game notes
    The Rockets have used 10 starting lineups in their injury-filled season. ... Some Lakers have ties to the Rockets. Joe Bryant, father of Lakers guard Kobe, played for Houston in 1982-83 and averaged 10 points in 81 games. Lakers forward Robert Horry has four championship rings, two each with the Rockets and Lakers. ... Lakers play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn, recovering from heart surgery, missed his first game at the microphone since Nov. 20, 1965, a string of 3,338 consecutive games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 107 101
    FGM-FGA 39-89 (.438) 38-88 (.432)
    3PM-3PA 12-20 (.600) 8-21 (.381)
    FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 17-27 (.630)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-53 13-42
    Assists 22 20
    Turnovers 12 7
    Steals 3 10
    Blocks 9 6
    Fast Break Points 8 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 21 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 27
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Eddie Griffin Griffin
    Points: 25
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4