Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley were ejected for a second-quarter scuffle and Glen Rice scored 24 points as the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Rockets to their fifth straight loss, 89-88, last night in Houston.
The Lakers won for the fifth time in six games but had to do it the hard way.
O'Neal and Barkley were ejected after a scuffle under the Rockets' basket with 9 minutes 3 seconds to go in the second quarter.
Barkley tried to go up for a layup and was blocked under the basket by O'Neal and the ball went out of bounds. Barkley retrieved the ball and got a small shove from O'Neal.
Barkley threw the ball at O'Neal and the two went for each other and grappled to the floor as players and coaches from both teams rushed to quell the scuffle.
"He [Barkley] did one of his Charles-like things; he just didn't want to play tonight," O'Neal said. "Obviously he is frustrated the way his team is playing. He wasn't doing much and his team is 0-5."
Rookie Steve Francis, who led Houston with 26 points, took the final shot for Houston, but time had expired. Hakeem Olajuwon finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. A.C. Green had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers.
MAGIC 110, 76ERS 105: Pat Garrity scored 25 points, and Darrell Armstrong had 20 points and 10 assists as host Orlando weathered Allen Iverson's season-high 46 points.
PISTONS 110, CELTICS 92: Visiting and well-rested Detroit finally won after losing its first four games of the season, behind 30 points from Jerry Stackhouse.
HORNETS 117, BUCKS 111: Eddie Jones had 33 points and Charlotte overcame Milwaukee's 83 percent shooting in the third quarter to win at home.
SUNS 104, NETS 89: Penny Hardaway scored 25 points as visiting Phoenix won its fourth straight game.
SPURS 99, CLIPPERS 94: Tim Duncan had 22 points and 17 rebounds for San Antonio in Los Angeles.
GRIZZLIES 102, HAWKS 97: Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists and Othella Harrington had 21 points and 12 rebounds for host Vancouver.