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Olajuwon Decides To Stay on Bench

November 15, 1997

HOUSTON (AP) _ Hakeem Olajuwon stayed on the bench for most of the fourth quarter and the first overtime at his own suggestion in the Houston Rockets’ 113-103 double-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Olajuwon was shooting only 2-for-11 with eight rebounds, four points and five fouls when he went to the bench early in the fourth quarter. The Rockets rallied over the final 10 minutes of the period to send the game into overtime.

``Rudy (coach Tomjanovich) came to put me back in the game (with about four minutes remaining in regulation) and I saw that the chemistry was going so well with Charles (Barkley) and Kevin (Willis) so I told him to just stay with that group,″ Olajuwon said.

Tomjanovich didn’t send Olajuwon back into the game until the second overtime when Willis fouled out.

``Everybody has a game like that where you’re not going well,″ Tomjanovich said. ``I went to him on the bench to put him back in and he said just go with those guys.

``He felt that it was best that you let those guys who made the comeback stay in. I think it was a very professional move, a sacrifice for the team.″

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