Akeem Olajuwon totaled 36 points and 19 rebounds and Ralph Sampson had 33 points and 17 rebounds tonight to lead the Houston Rockets to a 131-103 rout of the Denver Nuggets for a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Houston can advance to the finals with a victory in Game 6 Thursday night in Denver. If the Nuggets win, the series would shift to Houston Saturday for Game 7.
The combination of Olajuwon and Sampson was backed by Rodney McCray with 21 points. Denver, which sustained its most one-sided loss to the Rockets in dropping its ninth straight at Houston, was led by Alex English with 27 points.
Houston dominated the Nuggets from early in the second period, blowing open a close game with an 11-point run en route to a 72-46 advantage at halftime.
McCray's layup put Houston ahead, 83-53, with 9:03 to go in the third quarter.
*Lakers 116, Mavericks 113: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 34 points, including a hook shot with nine seconds remaining, as defending NBA champion Los Angeles edged Dallas in Inglewood, Calif., to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference playoff.
Game 6 will be Thursday night in Dallas; Game 7, if necessary, at the Inglewood Forum Saturday.
The Lakers, coming off a pair of two-point losses in Dallas over the weekend, pulled away from a 107-107 tie with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Baskets by Michael Cooper, Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson (29 points) gave Los Angeles a 113-108 lead with 1:13 remaining.
After Sam Perkins cut the difference to three with 31 seconds left, Abdul-Jabbar made a 12-foot sky hook to make it 115-110 with nine seconds to go.
Mark Aguirre paced the Mavericks with 27 points.