Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockets Have Another Blast Olajuwon Leads Houston Past Orlando 117-106

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rockets Have Another Blast Olajuwon Leads Houston Past Orlando 117-106

Article excerpt

The Orlando Magic's high-powered offense broke down, and Houston's road show roared right by.

The Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon's 34 points, took a 2-0 lead in the National Basketball Association Finals on Friday night, running past Orlando 117-106. Houston set an NBA record with its seventh consecutive playoff road win.

The series shifts to Houston for Sunday night's Game 3, the first of three at The Summit, where the Rockets are 4-4 in the postseason.

A big first half by Olajuwon and reserve point guard Sam Cassell, who tied his career playoff high with 31 points, put the Magic down by 22 at halftime, and they never recovered.

Shaquille O'Neal had 23 of his 33 points in the second half and Anfernee Hardaway added 32, but they didn't get much help. The team that led the league in scoring during the regular season simply got too far behind to catch up.

Now Orlando, only the second team to lose the first two games of the finals at home, may have fallen too far behind in the series to catch up.

Only two teams have managed to come back from a 0-2 deficit in the finals - the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers won the title after dropping the first two games to Philadelphia, and Boston bounced back to beat the Lakers in 1969.

While Houston set another NBA record with its ninth road victory of the postseason, the Magic lost consecutive games at home for the first time this season.

Clyde Drexler overcame early foul trouble to score 23 points for Houston, and Robert Horry had 11 points and a career-high seven steals. Kenny Smith, who had 23 points in Game 1, was scoreless in 19 minutes, but it didn't matter with the Rockets shooting 52 percent.

The Magic's two 23-year-old All-Stars carried their more tested teammates. Nick Anderson, whose four missed free throws in the final 10.5 seconds of Game 1 cost the Magic a win in regulation, was four of 13 from the field and Dennis Scott was three of 10. …

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