05-11-2009 09:34

The Houston Rockets routed the Los Angeles Lakers 99-87 to even their Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece. Houston didn't seem to miss Yao Ming, who is sidelined for the rest of the playoffs after breaking his left foot.

Houston Rockets' Ron Artest (96) drives the the basket as Los Angeles Lakers' Luke Walton (4) defends during the second half of Game 4 of their second round Western Conference NBA playoff basketball series Sunday, May 10, 2009 in Houston. The Rockets won 99-87.(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) 
Houston Rockets' Ron Artest (96) drives the 
the basket as Los Angeles Lakers' Luke Walton 
(4) defends during the second half of Game 4
of their second round Western Conference NBA 
playoff basketball series Sunday, May 10, 2009 
in Houston. The Rockets won 99-87.
(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) 

With Yao Ming out, it looked like the Lakers thought that all they had to do was to show up and the Rockets would surely crash. But it was the Lakers who never got off the ground. The Rockets blasted to a 9-0 run and led 29-16. Yao, dressed in a dark suit, wore a broad grin and applauded for his teammates.

Aaron Brooks scored a career-high 34 points. Shane Battier sank five 3-pointers and added 23. The Rockets increased their lead to 29 after the third quarter. The Lakers began to fight back in the fourth. Pau Gasol contributed 30 points and Kobe Bryant had a quiet 15 for LA. But the Rockets finally grabbed the win to even the score at two games apiece. Game 5 is Tuesday in Los Angeles.

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