HOUSTON — The Lakers lost their fourth consecutive game, collapsing in a heap down the stretch en route to a loss to the injury-riddled Houston Rockets tonight. The Lakers were outscored 15-2 in the final 3-plus minutes. They went scoreless for the final 2:15. Shane Battier hit two big 3-pointers and also made three key free throws in the closing minutes.
Pau Gasol had to seek treatment for sore hamstrings in the second half. He returned to the court in the fourth quarter, but was ineffective. Ron Artest didn’t get off the bench in the fourth and played only six minutes in the second half. He limped from the arena after the game, but declined to say what was wrong. He said it was just his swagger.
Meanwhile, Lakers coach Phil Jackson revealed Andrew Bynum would practice with his teammates Thursday in El Segundo. How many Lakers would actually be available to practice because of injuries and the need for rest wasn’t immediately clear. it would most likely be a 4-on-4 game, rather than a 5-on-5 scrimmage, Jackson said.