Sports and Scores
 

Rockets beat Lakers 134-108 for 8th straight win

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

By JOE RESNICK


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) There was no warm welcome back. No video montage of highlights that brought back the good old days.

That didn't keep Dwight Howard from thoroughly enjoying his first road game against the team he left as a free agent after one tumultuous season.

Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Houston Rockets in 134-108 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night that extended the Rockets' winning streak to eight games.

"We're always going to have fun when we're playing basketball. We love what we're doing," Howard said. "We're playing great, and we just want to have as much fun as possible."

The streak is Houston's longest since a franchise-record, 22-game run in 2007-08 under Rick Adelman. James Harden scored 11 of his 29 points in the final 1:25 of the third quarter and added 11 assists.

Wesley Johnson scored 24 points for Los Angeles, and Kendall Marshall had 20 points and 16 assists. The injury-ravaged Lakers remained tied for last place in the Western Conference with Sacramento at 18-36.

"The Lakers have always found a way to get back to the top, and they will one day. But I can't focus on the Lakers," Howard said. "My focus is on the Rockets and what we're trying to accomplish."

It was Howard's third game against the Lakers since leaving the organization to sign a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets in July. Los Angeles offered the eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year a five-year, $118 million deal to stay.

"He's having a great year there, but I felt he did the same thing here," Lakers guard Jodie Meeks said. "The numbers are almost identical. He had a pretty good year last year - and for whatever reason, some people didn't think so."

Howard played 76 games last season, averaging 17.1 points and a league-best 12.4 rebounds despite residual pain from back surgery - compounded by a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Howard's only season in Tinseltown ended with a whimper - a four-game sweep by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs, when he was ejected from what would turn out to be his final game as a Laker for protesting a non-call.

The sellout crowd booed Howard every time he touched the ball. It began during warm-ups about 45 minutes before the game, after a few of his ex-teammates came over to say hello at midcourt. The fans then drowned out public address announcer Lawrence Tanter before he could get Howard's name out of his mouth during the introductions.

Howard received a technical foul just 78 seconds into the game after dunking on Chris Kaman.

"I think it was more emotion than anything," Howard said. "I don't know if the ref thought I was talking to Kaman, but one of my friends was sitting courtside and I was just looking at him and having some fun. It wasn't nothing toward the Lakers or any of their guys. I was just talking trash to one of my friends."

Less than 90 minutes before tipoff, the Lakers dealt guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for reserve guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Coach Mike D'Antoni was still talking about Blake in the present tense during his pregame session with reporters before the deal was consummated, and the trade left him with only eight players in uniform and his 28th different starting lineup due to injuries to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Xavier Henry and Nick Young.

Jordan Farmar returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a sore hamstring, and Meeks was back in action after sitting out five games with a sprained right ankle.

Harden helped the Rockets build a 64-43 halftime lead with 15 points in the first game for both teams following the All-Star break. Howard added 14 points and 10 rebounds - the 10th time this season that he had a double-double by halftime.

NOTES: The Rockets were 18 for 35 on free throws, after attempting more than 50 in each of the previous two meetings. ... Bryant hasn't played in any of the games against Houston since he and Howard became ex-teammates. In fact, he's played in only six games altogether. The season series concludes on April 8 at Los Angeles. ... The Lakers have lost seven games by margins of at least 20 or more points. ... Harden scored at least 30 points in each of his previous four games against the Lakers. ... The Rockets began a five-game road trip that will end right back here at Staples Center against the Clippers.

Updated February 20, 2014

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

It Is What It Is Cast: Bi…

It Is What It Is Cast: Bill Barcells and Patriots Hall of Fame

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Bill Parcells' Patriots Hall of Fame candidacy.

It Is What It Is Cast: Logan Mankins, the offensive line, and Brandon Spikes' guarantee

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Christopher Price discuss Logan Mankins' breakdown of the offensive line and how it will look without Dante Scarnecchia. They also discussed Mankins' rebuttal to Brandon Spikes.

CSNNE's Tom E. Curran Reports From NFL Owners Meetings

Tom Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.

Celtics President Danny A…

Celtics President Danny Ainge with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We wrap up the Celtics season by speaking with Celtics president Danny Ainge about this past season and the team's future.

Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Owner: Reflects on the Boston Marathon tragedy 4-15-4

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, on the Celtics, 4-10-14

Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.

Joe and Dave postgame wit…

Joe and Dave postgame with David Ross 04-17-14

Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox catcher, David Ross, who had the go-ahead RBI tonight as the Red Sox beat the White Sox behind a brilliant pitching performance from Jon Lester.

Dave O'Brien with Dale and Holley - 4-17-14

Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien checks in live from Chicago for our weekly chat about the state of the Sox.

Red Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

We discuss the Red Sox early season woes with manager John Farrell, as well as his views and faith in MLB's new instant replay system, and the continuity in the Sox outfield.

Shawn Thornton calls in o…

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and Greg Wyshynski on Bruins-Red Wings

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

Scott Stella on his buddy…

Scott Stella on his buddy Mark Fucarile 4-18-14

Scott talked about the fantastic E 60 documentary Dream On and how his friend is doing.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Chelsea is pregnant 4-18-14

The top of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy.

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Ty Law, Patriots legend: …

Ty Law, Patriots legend: On being a finalist for Hall of Fame, 4-17-14

Ty Law joins Mut and Christian Fauria to discuss being a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the way the game is officiated now, and Darrelle Revis.

Fauria's Facts: Do you sleep naked? With Socks on? 4-17-14

Christian Fauria tells us the percentage of Americans that sleep naked and those that sleep with their socks on.

DJ Bean, WEEI.com: Reports from Bruins morning skate, 4-17-14

DJ Bean joins Mut and Christian Fauria from the Garden to report the latest news regarding the Bruins before they get set to take on the Red Wings in Game 1.

Jack Edwards previews Red…

Jack Edwards previews Red Wings and Bruins Round 1 with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Red Sox PbP Broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins Dale and Holley 4-17-14

Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien checks in live from Chicago for our weekly chat about the state of the Sox.

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - '14 Celtics Wrap-Up Edition - 4-17-14

We tackle four topics that relate around the (merciful) end of the Celtics 2014 season.

Rick Middleton joins Plan…

Rick Middleton joins Planet Mikey

Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.

Red Sox lose to the Orioles 2-1 on Opening Day

Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.

Chris Price joins John Ryder to talk the Patriots' newest acquisition

WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and…

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and Greg Wyshynski on Bruins-Red Wings

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

Minor Details Ep. 79: The meaning of winning in the minors with Carlos Febles, Evan Lepler

The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.

WEEI WrestleCast: Wrestlemania 30 recap

Scott and Ben recap WrestleMania 30 and talk about the death of the Ultimate Warrior.

Crystel the Tsnarnaev def…

Crystel the Tsnarnaev defender 4-16-14

Crystel called in to defend the terrorists.

More from this show

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox c…

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox clubhouse unhappy with Lester offer, 4-16-14

Buster Olney joined Mut and Merloni to discuss the Lester contract offer and the trickle-down effect in the clubhouse, the defense of Xander Bogaerts, and the slow start

More from this show

Sam Kennedy on the state …

Sam Kennedy on the state of the Red Sox 4-17-14

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy joined the show to discuss the state of the Sox and MLB.

More from this show

Reflecting on the One-Yea…

Reflecting on the One-Year Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing 4-15-14

Dale, Michael and Steve Lyons reflect back on the event last year, and the good that has taken place since then as Boston came together.

More from this show

Jeff Bauman on his recove…

Jeff Bauman on his recovery 4-17-14

Jeff Bauman joined the show to discuss his recovery over the past year.

More from this show

Weei Writers