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Rockets stun Lakers to level series
Houston level the NBA Western Conference semi with a determined 99-87 win over Lakers.
Last Modified: 11 May 2009 11:55 GMT

Aaron Brooks dribbles past Andrew Bynum of the Lakers [GALLO/GETTY]
Despite the broken foot of their all-star player Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets stunned the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 99-87 to level their Western Conference semi-final series at 2-2.

Houston guard Aaron Brooks scored a career-high 34 points in the shock home-court win over the Lakers as the Rockets powered ahead without Yao, who broke his left foot on Friday.

The Rockets scored the game's first nine points and built a 29-point lead by the end of the third quarter.

"We will never count ourselves out," Brooks said.

"If anybody is ready for this it would be us.

"We've been through a lot this year.

"Mac (Tracy McGrady) being out, Deke (Dikembe Mutombo) being out, Shane (Battier) being out at the beginning of the year.

"Now we have Yao out. It seems like we keep going. We're used to it."

The Eastern Conference semi-final series between Boston and Orlando is also tied at 2-2 after the Celtics' Glen Davis hit a jump shot at the buzzer for a 95-94 victory over the Magic.

Stunning performance

"Playing the way we did the first three quarters was just incredible," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said.

Battier added 23 points, including five three-pointers, and Luis Scola had 14 rebounds and 11 points.

Los Angeles scored 33 points in the fourth quarter but could not overhaul the Rockets.

"We blew a great opportunity," the Lakers' Kobe Bryant said.

"I've been on teams that have made this dumb mistake before."

Pau Gasol scored 30 points for the Lakers, who host Game Five on Tuesday, while Bryant had only 15, making just seven of 17 shots.

"They shot the ball extremely well to start the game to put us in a hole," Bryant said.
"I just don't think we started the game with the right energy, the right focus."

Paul Pierce leads the Celtics to victory [GALLO/GETTY]
Narrow victory

In Orlando, Paul Pierce had 27 points with Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo scoring 21 each as the defending NBA champions squeezed out the win.

The Magic wiped out an eight-point Celtics' lead to go ahead twice - first on two free throws by Dwight Howard with 49.6 seconds to play and again on a pair by Rashard Lewis with 11.3 seconds remaining.

Davis then beat the buzzer for the win.

"Ever since I've been with the Celtics, I've just been trying to find my niche in our system," the second-year forward said.

"You've got to be focused when you take a shot like that... You've got to basically think without thinking and just shoot it."

Boston host Game Five on Tuesday.

Source:
Agencies
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