LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers surged into the seventh and last playoff spot in the West with a 99-95 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets at the Staples Centre last night.
Steve Blake scored 24 points and Pau Gasol added his seventh career triple-double for the Lakers (45-37), who only clinched a postseason berth about 10 minutes before tipoff with Utah Jazz’ lost to the Grizzlies. Gasol had 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists in his second triple-double in three games for the Lakers, who avoided the embarrassment of missing the playoffs for just the second time in Kobie Bryant’s 17-year career. Bryant missed the game through injury.
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Lakers, and the All-Star center blocked James Harden’s shot in the final seconds of overtime to finish up the Lakers’ fifth straight win, their eighth in nine games.
Harden scored 30 points and Chandler Parsons had 23 for the Rockets, who already knew they were back in the postseason after a three-year absence.
Other scores: Celtics 90, Raptors 114; Pistons 99, Nets 103; Hawks 92, Knicks 98; Cavaliers 98, Bobcats 105; Magic 93, Heat 105; 76ers 105, Pacers 95; Wizards 92, Bulls 95; Jazz 70, Grizzlies 86; Hornets 87, Mavericks 99; Timberwolves 108, Spurs 95; Bucks 95, Thunder 89; Suns 98, Nuggets 118; Clippers 112, Kings 108; Warriors 99, Trail Blazers 88.†