Rockets force Game 7 with 95-80 win over Lakers


The Houston Rockets downed the Los Angeles Lakers 95-80 on Thursday to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference playoff series.

Aaron Brooks scored 26 points and Luis Scola added 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Rockets led from start to finish in an impressive home win against the top-seeded Lakers.

Houston won for the second time in three games without center Yao Ming, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a broken foot.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 32 points and Pau Gasol chipped in 14.

Game 7 is on Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The winner of that game will take on the Denver Nuggets for the opportunity to play for the NBA title.

In the Eastern Conference, Dwight Howard notched 23 points and pulled down 22 rebounds as the Orlando Magic forced a Game 7 with an 83-75 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics.

Rashard Lewis added 20 points, and Hedo Turkoglu hit his only 3-pointer of the game to highlight a closing 11-2 run for Orlando, which hasn’t made it to the conference finals since 1996.

Rajon Rondo finished with 19 points, 16 boards, and 6 assists for the Celtics, while Paul Pierce added 17 points. Boston led for most of the game before Orlando outscored the defending champions 22-13 in the fourth quarter.

Game 7 is on Sunday in Boston.