05-12-2009 10:54

NBA basketball: At 2-1 down in the series, most people thought the Houston Rockets' fate was sealed with Yao Ming forced out of the playoffs due to injury. But the Rockets shrugged off the loss to stun the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers and tie their Western Conference semi-final series.

At 2-1 down in the series, most people thought the Houston Rockets' fate was sealed with Yao Ming forced out of the playoffs due to injury. But the Rockets shrugged off the loss to stun the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers and tie their Western Conference semi-final series.
At 2-1 down in the series, most people thought the Houston
Rockets' fate was sealed with Yao Ming forced out of the 
playoffs due to injury. But the Rockets shrugged off the loss 
to stun the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers and tie their Western
Conference semi-final series.

The fifth game of the Western Conference semi-final series takes place on Tuesday at the Staples Center.

Before the game, Shane Battier encouraged his teammates with words. And after the opening whistle, he encouraged the Rockets with action, scoring 12 points in the first quarter, including three 3-pointers.

Later in the game, the Lakers were unable to find a way through the Rockets' defense, Kobe Bryant here lunging the ball in desperation as the shot clock ticked down. The ball went straight to the back of the board, a rare sight when Bryant and his team are concerned. In this game, Bryant had only 15 points, making just seven of 17 shots.

Yao Ming's absence also provided more room for Aaron Brooks. He didn't have to slow down at all in his counter-attacks, instead, scoring at his own pace. The Houston guard went on to score a career-high 34 points, leading the Rockets into the interval with an 18 point cushion.