No Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady? No worries for the Houston Rockets on Sunday night when they took down the reigning-champeen Los Angeles Lakers, 101-91, at Staples Center. Without Ming, who is done for the season, and McGrady, recovering from left-knee surgery, Houston benefited from unlikely contributors Aaron Brooks (a career-high 33 points, including five three-pointers) and David Andersen (a career-high 19 points).
About Andersen, who hails from Down Under, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, "We obviously didn't know the scouting report that well on Andersen. We knew he's a shooter, but we didn't see him playing at that level."
Take note, Alvin Gentry, when your Phoenix Suns travel to Texas to take on the Rockets (6-4). Good news for the NBA's current best team is that, before Houston stole the stage in L.A., the Rockets weren't really playing that well. The loss of two superstars is huge for any team, so the team's average start was to be expected.
Along with Brooks and Andersen, the Suns will have to deal with team-leading scorer Trevor Ariza and Houston's main man on the boards, Luis Scola. The Rockets like to get up and down the floor -- reference their 100-plus points scored in their past nine contests -- so Phoenix will need to be lights out from the floor to continue its totally hot start.
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Tip-off at Houston's Toyota Center is 6:30 p.m. TV: My45 (cable 9). Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.suns.com.