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Friday, January 7th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (16-16) at Los Angeles Lakers (16-14), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will try to avoid their first three- game losing streak in nearly a year, as they host the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center.

The Lakers dropped their second straight game on Wednesday when they suffered a 118-104 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. LA hasn't dropped three consecutive games since January 19-22 of last season.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 32 points in the loss. Chris Mihm had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Jumaine Jones scored 10 points with 13 boards for Los Angeles, which has also lost three of its last five games. Bryant had four three-pointers and the Lakers finished with 11 for the game.

LA's Brian Cook finished 3-of-3 from three-point range for nine points.

The Lakers are 0-12 this season when allowing 100 points.

Meanwhile, Houston will try to get back on the winning track after Wednesday night's 108-98 loss to the visiting Phoenix Suns. Tracy McGrady scored 24 points for the Rockets, who had a three-game winning streak halted.

Yao Ming tallied 14 points and 10 boards for Houston, which has lost four straight to Phoenix.

David Wesley had 15 points for Houston, which shot 8-of-28 from three and just 39 percent from the field. The Rockets fell to 11-8 at home this season.

The Rockets were within striking distance for most of the fourth quarter, but could never put a solid run together.

With Phoenix ahead 91-82, Shawn Marion began to take over in the fourth quarter. He scored four of six points to increase the Suns' advantage to 97-82 with 6:41 left.

Then, after the Rockets got to 99-90 on two Yao free throws with 3 1/2 remaining, Marion continued his torrid play. He first drained a runner, answered a McGrady layup with a three-pointer and then hit a jumper with 1:25 left to help Phoenix put away any doubt, 106-92.

Yao has scored in double-digits in 16 straight and 26 of the 31 games he has played in this season. He has registered 12 double-doubles so far in the 2004-05 campaign.

The Lakers and Rockets met once on November 13 and LA posted an 84-79 victory at the Toyota Center. LA has won three straight and five of the last seven meetings with Houston. The Rockets have also dropped two of three and seven of nine in Los Angeles.

01/07 10:09:31 ET


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