Los Angeles Lakers center Vlade Divac felt his season-high 22 points against
NBAroundupthe Houston Rockets came cheaply because they didn't come against Akeem Olajuwon.
James Worthy saw it differently, however.
"It's always great to see a player exploit the weaknesses of another team," Worthy said after the Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 116-97 Sunday night. "He's always had a tremendous amount of physical talent. It's always been there, and now he's feeling more comfortable and making the plays."
Houston is 2-3 since losing Olajuwon, the NBA's rebounding leader, and they won't have him back for at least another eight weeks. He was scheduled to undergo surgery today in Houston to repair an injury to his right eye socket.
"I'm upset because he didn't play," said Divac, who led the Lakers in scoring for the first time this season. "I like playing against Akeem. Their team is very hard to play with or without him in there."
Olajuwon held Divac to seven points and six rebounds in 27 minutes of the Lakers' 108-103 overtime loss Nov. 15 at Houston in their only other meeting this season. But this time, against Larry Smith, Divac had 11 rebounds and shot 9-for-11 in 38 minutes.
Seven players scored in double figures for the Lakers, who recorded their seventh straight home triumph - their longest such streak since capturing their final 13 home games of last season.
Otis Thorpe scored 24 points for the Rockets, who remained winless here in 14 regular-season games dating to Jan. 30, 1985.
Trail Blazers 116, Nets 103
Buck Williams scored 24 points, snagged 10 rebounds, started a third-quarter spurt and shut down Derrick Coleman as Portland sent New Jersey to its 10th straight loss.
The Trail Blazers, the NBA's winningest team, stopped a two-game skid. They have not lost three in a row this season.
Terry Porter had 26 points and 10 assists and Kevin Duckworth scored 22 points for Portland. Williams, formerly with the Nets, scored six points during a 12-0 run as the Trail Blazers overcame a 63-62 deficit midway through the third period.
Mookie Blaylock led the Nets with 23 points and 12 assists and Reggie Theus scored 22.