Rockets beat Lakers again after Bynum is ejected

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 07, 2012
Goran Dragic had 26 points and 11 assists, Luis Scola scored 10 of his 25 points during a 2:39 span of the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets capitalized on the ejection of Andrew Bynum to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-107 on Friday night. The Lakers were trailing 80-75 when Bynum took exception to a foul by Samuel Dalembert with 1:18 left in the third quarter and had to be restrained by teammates, earning a technical foul. He got another one with 11:17 left in the game after hitting a hook shot and mouthing off to the Houston bench on his way downcourt. Bynum finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes, after scoring 36 points against the Clippers despite a sprained left ankle. On March 20 at Houston, the enigmatic and moody 7-foot center was ejected late in the third quarter, and the Rockets erased a 17-point deficit scored a season-high 34 points in the fourth. Houston won it 107-104, with Dragic making the go-ahead 3-pointer with 28 seconds left. Marcus Camby, playing with a sprained left wrist, had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who overcame a 15-point deficit en route to a 99-93 road win over the league-leading Chicago Bulls in their previous game on Monday night. They have won back-to-back games for the first time since March 13-14 against Oklahoma City and Charlotte. Rockets leading scorer Kevin Martin missed his 13th straight game because of a right shoulder strain, but they are 8-5 in his absence. Kobe Bryant, playing with a bruised right shin that kept him out of Friday morning's shootaround, scored 28 points for the Lakers. Metta World Peace had a season-high 23, Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve forward Matt Barnes had 13 rebounds - three off his career high. The Lakers fell to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers in the Pacific Division. Six of the final 10 games on the Lakers' schedule are on the road, including the next three against Phoenix, New Orleans and San Antonio - whom the Lakers will face three times. They trail the Spurs by 4 1/2 games for the best record in the conference. World Peace, who came off the bench in his first 19 games before replacing Barnes in the starting lineup on Jan. 29, helped lead Los Angeles to a 59-50 halftime lead with 17 points - two off his previous high this season. The 13-year veteran reached the 20-point mark for the ninth time in 214 regular-season games with the Lakers. Notes: The 40th anniversary of the Lakers' first championship in Los Angeles is coming up on May 7, and the organization honored the members of that 1971-72 team in a halftime ceremony by giving them new championship rings. In attendance was coach Bill Sharman and nine of his players, including Jerry West, Pat Riley, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor, who retired nine games into that season - the same day that his teammates began their record 33-game winning streak. ... With the Lakers atop the Pacific Division, the Clippers leading ninth-place Utah by 4 1/2 games in the West with 11 to play - and the NHL's Kings having clinched a playoff spot Thursday night - it's shaping up to be the first time that all three of Staples Center's major tenants will make the postseason in the same year since the arena opened in 1999-00. ... Bryant needs four steals to surpass Magic Johnson's total of 1,724 for the Lakers' franchise record and take over 15th place on the career NBA list. Johnson led the league twice in that department, something that Bryant never did. ... Houston is 8-6 since Dragic took over as the starting point guard because of Kyle Lowry's bacterial infection.
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