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LAKERS LOSE TO ROCKETS IN HOUSTON

SHARE LAKERS LOSE TO ROCKETS IN HOUSTON

It had been nine years since Los Angeles had come out on the wrong end of a first-round NBA playoff game. Back in 1981, the Lakers fell to Houston in a three-game series.

Twenty wins later, the Lakers were beaten again in a first-round game.

Sleepy Floyd scored 23 points and set a club playoff record with 18 assists as Houston won 114-108 Tuesday night. Still, Houston trails the Lakers 2-1 in the best-of-5 series, which resumes Thursday night.

The key to victory was how the Rockets played while star center Akeem Olajuwon was on the bench with four fouls.

"We've played well before when he has been out of the game," Floyd said. "We've got players who can play with anyone, whether he is in or out of the game."

Otis Thorpe, who had 27 points, took up the scoring and rebounding slack for Olajuwon, who picked up his fourth foul 26 seconds into the third quarter. Vernon Maxwell had 26 points for Houston.

Floyd finished the job with 22 seconds to go when his basket broke a string of eight straight points by the Lakers that had cut Houston's lead to 111-108.

James Worthy led the Lakers with 26 points, Orlando Woolridge scored 18 and Magic Johnson had 17 points and 18 assists. Johnson, however, was held without a point in the fourth quarter.

"We shouldn't force up shots like we did that their double-team coaxed us into," Johnson said. "Tonight, they made the plays they needed to offensively and defensively in the last five minutes.

"We have to play 48 minutes, not 40 minutes."

Tonight, Boston tries to sweep New York.

Pistons 108, Pacers 96

At Indianapolis, Isiah Thomas scored 23 points and Bill Laimbeer had 12 points and 19 rebounds, a team playoff mark.

Trail Blazers 106, Mavericks 92

At Dallas, Buck Williams went down with an eye injury at the end of a first quarter in which he had 10 rebounds. An elbow by Dallas center James Donaldson did the damage.

Kevin Duckworth was lost in the third period as Donaldson slapped at the ball and hit the Portland center's right hand.

Williams, taken to a hospital, has a corneal abrasion and a crack in the sinus area. A Trail Blazers spokesman said he "should be able to resume normal activities in the next few days."

Duckworth fractured the fourth metacarpal in his right hand. It wasn't immediately determined how much time he would miss.

Spurs 131, Nuggets 120

At Denver, the Spurs did some serious shooting - 55 percent - and played serious defense, limiting the Nuggets to 40 percent shooting.

Terry Cummings scored 28 points, including 10 in the third quarter as San Antonio thwarted a fierce Denver rally, and also had 14 rebounds. Spurs center David Robinson, the NBA's rookie of the year, had 26 points and 16 rebounds, and Willie Anderson had 26 points.

Cavaliers 122, 76ers 95

Craig Ehlo scored 10 of his 16 third-quarter points during a 22-4 run that broke the game open. Cleveland had its biggest victory margin in a playoff game after Philadelphia won the first two games at home by a combined 11 points.

Ehlo led Cleveland with 25 points and had 10 rebounds and nine assists. Daugherty had 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Bucks 119, Bulls 112

At Milwaukee, Alvin Robertson scored 38 points, a career playoff high, and Fred Roberts had 23.

Michael Jordan had 48 for Chicago, which had beaten Milwaukee in 19 of the previous 21 games.