Rockets beat Lakers 134-108 for 8th straight win
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
Daniel Jeremiah calls NFL Sunday to preview the NFL Draft and discuss what the New England Patriots will be looking to do starting Thursday night.
In hour 2 of NFL Sunday, we get more draft talk from Price and Dickerson. They discuss if the Pats will trade up or down at all or what they can get by staying put. Also, what does the RB position look like for New England? We hear from Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network and NFL.com and get his thoughts on the NFL draft and what the Patriots will do. Finally, the boys talk about the Greg Hardy situation in Dallas.
It's finally the week of the NFL Draft and the guys are psyched. They kick off the show discussing the release of the NFL schedule and how they expect the Pats to do against a relatively easy road for the Super Bowl champs. Greg and Chris talk about any difficult match-ups and if any teams in the AFC East can contend with the Patriots. Then the boys move on to the Draft and where the Pats may go. WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia joins the program to discuss his thoughts on the upcoming draft, the Pats needs and his ideas on why the Patriots may in fact trade up this season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt, who hit the game winning 3 run home run that propelled the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, and played some stellar defense to seal the win.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
Dale and Michael check in with the Red Sox manager John Farrell for his weekly take on all things Boston Red Sox.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Kevin Love and the Celtics.
The Celtics, unsurprisingly, were swept by the Cavs and Jackie helped the guys recap the season, and the crazy final game which saw some hard fouls as well as an ejection of JR Smith.
The guys dissect Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night.
The Red Sox rotation has the worst ERA in the league. No one thought this team had a true Ace, but did we think it was going to be this bad?
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.
We talk to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com and discuss his column on Rajon Rondo from ESPN and ESPN the Magazine.
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Gerry, Kirk and Glenn discuss Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer and Chris Gasper's latest column.
Football fans and Fantasy Footballers know that there is NO Offseason in the NFL, so Jim and Pete are back with the first of a series of Fantasy Football Podcasts of the “NFL Draft variety.” Tune in and you’ll get an in depth analysis on Pete’s most first batch of scouting reports on this year’s crop of Rookie Targets. Jim and Pete kick it off with a lot of focus on a Runningback rich draft class, some of the top Wide Receiver talent and touch on the top Quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Enjoy!
Uncle Buck joins Chris on the show again to talk about Raw from 4/20, finishing maneuvers and gives a few classic match picks.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.More from this show
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.More from this show
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.More from this show
Jim Palmer continues to take shots at David Ortiz, and everyone wants to weigh in on Tom Brady's White House no-show.More from this show