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

? © 2015 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

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with…

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX 1-30-15

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins Lou, Christian and Tim to talk about all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX

Ted Johnson previews Super Bowl XLVI, 1-30-15

Three-time Super Bowl champion Ted Johnson joins Lou, Christian and Tim to preview Super Bowl XLVI

Willie McGinest previews Super Bowl XLIX, 1-30-15

Three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest joins Lou, Christian and Tim to preview Super Bowl XLVI

We Love Anthony Daivs - N…

We Love Anthony Daivs - NBA Mid-Season Awards

Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks about the Rondo trade 12-19-14

Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process

We Hate Dwayne Wade - Marcus Smart injury 11-12-14

How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...

John Farrell with Mut and…

John Farrell with Mut and Bradford, 1-24-15

The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.

Joe Kelly and Pablo Sandoval make predictions for 2015, 1-24-15

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.

Hot Stove Show 01-15-15

Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.

Pierre McGuire discusses …

Pierre McGuire discusses Rule-Breaking in the NHL 1-22-15

Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports: "Bruins are an unbelievably team to play against" 1-15-15

Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley

We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.

D&C's Super Bowl Coverage…

D&C's Super Bowl Coverage Montage 1-30-15

Wrapping up the show's week on radio row.

Mad Dog Russo chats with Gerry and Kirk 1-30-15

Show favorite Mad Dog Russo joins the guys to look at Sunday's game and the response he has seen to deflategate.

Bob Kravitz checks in on deflategate 1-30-15

Kravitz calls in to put a wrap on the deflategate this week's coverage. He details some of the twitter attacks he has received from Patriots fans.

Super Bowl Predictions fr…

Super Bowl Predictions from Radio Row 1-30-15

Christian ran around Radio Row getting predictions form anyone he could find, which included being Green-Flied by Warren Sapp

Merloni Investments, Super Bowl XLIX Edition 1-30-15

Local Wiseguy Louie Merloni gives us the lines for Super Bowl XLIX

Adam Schefter, ESPN, with all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX 1-30-15

Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins Lou, Christian and Tim to talk about all the news surrounding Super Bowl XLIX

Four at Four: Pro Footbal…

Four at Four: Pro Football Hall of Fame edition

For today's four at four we elect our own inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Did Ty Law make it?

Mike Tirico joins the show to preview the Super Bowl

Monday Night Football host Mike Tirico stops by to preview the Super Bowl and give us his analysis of Russell Wilson.

Herm Edwards Previews the Super Bowl

Former player and coach Herm Edwards stops by to preview the Super Bowl and explain how to slow down Russell Wilson.

Steve DeOssie joins Mike …

Steve DeOssie joins Mike Mutnansky

DeOssie joins Mut from Arizona to talk about how big the hype has been for this year's Super Bowl in comparison to other Super Bowl games in the past and how Seattle's defense matches up against New England's offense.

Jimmy Garoppolo could be the difference maker for the Patriots

Mikey, Mut, and Lenny discuss how the Patriots can stop Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo is brought up as a potential weapon for the Patriots in practice to give the defense a Wilson-esque look from the QB position.

Dean Blandino says the refs didn't do their job 100%

Mikey, Mut, Lenny and Dave Russo talk about Danny Amendola stepping up this season, and the comments made by Dean Blandino about the inspection done to the game balls before the AFC Championship game.

WrestleCast - Royal Rumbl…

WrestleCast - Royal Rumble Preview Part 2

Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.

Unsportsmanlike Podcast - Are sports better in the stadium or on TV?

Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.

We Love Anthony Daivs - NBA Mid-Season Awards

Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.

ESPN Sport Science John B…

ESPN Sport Science John Brenkus Talks Deflate Gate 1-28-14

Dale and Michael talk to John Brenkus about the tests he did in relation to deflate gate and the conclusions he came to.

More from this show

Kirk's showdown with the …

Kirk's showdown with the competition 01-29-15

Gerry and Kirk breakdown Kirk's confrontation with the competition.

More from this show

Joe Beningo brings the Ne…

Joe Beningo brings the New York perspective on Patriots-Seahawks 1-28-15

New York radio personality Joe Beningo sits down with D&C to discuss all the topics surrounding this year's big game.

More from this show

Pro Football Talk's Mike …

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio breaks down the latest on deflategate 1-28-15

Florio talks about the latest surrounding the Patriots' handling of footballs. He also reveals that other NFL head coaches are running their own tests on footballs.

More from this show

Gregg Doyel thinks the Pa…

Gregg Doyel thinks the Patriots are comparable to the 1919 White Sox 1-29-15

Doyel knows the Patriots fixed the AFC title game and they now belong in the same sentence as the 1919 White Sox.

More from this show

Weei Writers