Rockets 109, Magic 94
HOUSTON (AP) _ Akeem Olajuwon had his second triple-double of the season with 32 points, a career-high-tying 25 rebounds and 10 blocked shots as the Houston Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 109-94 Sunday night.
Olajuwon surpassed 20 rebounds for the fourth time this season. He had 25 three previous times.
Houston used a 17-5 spurt, including six points, four rebounds and two blocks by Olajuwon, to take a 97-85 lead with 3:49 left to play.
Orlando’s Reggie Theus made nine straight shots, with the last one tying the score 60-60 in the third period. Theus’ 29 points were not enough to rpevent the Magic’s seventh straight road loss.
The score was tied eight times in the third quarter before Houston pulled away in the fourth period.
Houston went ahead 19-11 with 3:45 left in the first quarter after Olajuwon hit his 10th point on a driving layup. The Rockets’ Buck Johnson also had 10 points in the first quarter, 15 in the game.
Houston built its lead to 16 points but Orlando used six straight points by Theus and five straight by Otis Smith as part of a 13-0 run. At 6:58 of the second quarter, Houston was only ahead 39-38. Smith scored 19 points.
Theus had 14 points in the second period as the Magic took a 49-47 lead before a 49-49 halftime tie.
Olajuwon said the fact that Orlando has no legitimate center played a big part in his statistics.
″They don’t have a dominating big man, and that makes it easier,″ Olajuwon said after posting the fifth triple-double of his career.
The rebounds and points are typical for Olajuwon, but the blocks have exceeded his high standards.
″I lead the league in bloks after being second or third because I’m going after every shot and people are challenging me more this year,″ Olajuwon said. ″I have great timing, as well as jumping ability.″
Johnson thought Olajuwon turned the game around in the fourth quarter.
″Akeem was just awesome,″ he said. ″It seemed that he got every rebound and blocked every shot. He really turned our defense up in the last 10 minutes.″
Orlando coach Matt Guokas likened Olajuwon to a football player about to make a tackle.
″Most players in the league, when they play great shot-blockers like Akeem, they hear footsteps,″ Guokas said. ″Once he got a sense of how we were trying to attack he was ultimately tough on us.″