May 10 - Houston - When the news of Yao Ming's foot fracture arrived everybody though the season was over for Houston but they came on fire, took advantage of a confused Laker team and tied the series with a 99-87 victory.
Three minutes into the game Luis Scola scored his first points to make it 9-0 for Houston and the Lakers never found a way to recover. It was 19-4 a couple of minutes later and 26-9 with 3:34 left in the period. In fact, the Rockets never trailed and led by as many as 29 points. The Lakers were a disaster for 3 quarters and then made a final attempt in the fourth when they outscored the Rockets 33-16 just to make the score a little less embarrassing.
With L.A. trying to take advantage of the lack of height in the Rockets paint, second-year point guard Aaron Brooks scored a career-high 34 points, Shane Battier, usually just an excellent defender, made five 3-pointers to add a playoff career-high of 23 points and Luis Scola scored 11 points and dominated the boards with 14 rebounds. Yao Ming, who won't return in these playoffs, was replaced with an improvised and undersized center in 6-6 forward Chuck Hayes. Hayes did a great job on Pau Gasol who scored 30 points but couldn't find any rhythm until fourth quarter when things were almost over and he scored 18 points. Kobe Bryant was erratic and had 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting and 5 assists
The Rockets led 54-36 at the halftime break and with 17 points by Brooks they outscored L.A. 29-18 in the third which ended with the Lakers' lowest point of the game. Artest inbounded the ball from midcourt to a flying Brooks who caught the ball in the air to beat the buzzer with a layup. The Lakers couldn't even capitalize Ron Artest bad shooting night. He was 4-for-19 from the field including 0-for-3 on three-pointers and ended with 8 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Despite height being one of the Lakers best qualities they were outrebounded 43-37. Lamar Odom had 2 points and 6 rebounds before having to leave the game for good after committing an offensive foul on Battier and falling badly to the floor. Andrew Bynum keeps struggling and was scoreless for the second time against Houston. As he always does lately he couldn't avoid committing fouls and was benched for good after 11 minutes, 3 fouls and 2 rebounds. Derek Fisher was back from a one-game suspension but had only two points in almost 20 minutes. Backups Shannon Brown (14 points) and Jordan Farmar (7 points) were just a little more effective than Fisher but nobody could really contain the small Brooks and his speed.