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Bitter return? Howard set to play before Lakers faithful

(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard will make his first appearance against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night when the Houston Rockets start a western trip at the Staples Center.

Howard played only one season in Hollywood, but it was tainted with in house squabbles with teammates, especially Kobe Bryant, a fired coach in Mike Brown, and massive underachievement.

Howard bolted L.A. for Houston as a free-agent in the offseason. The decision has paid off beautifully for both the Rockets and Howard. Houston is tied for third in the Western Conference and Howard just made his eighth All-Star team over the weekend.

Howard finished with eight points and 11 rebounds Sunday night in New Orleans. James Harden started for the West and chipped in eight points in the loss.

The two Rockets aren't used to losing much lately. Houston has won seven consecutive games, including three straight on the road. The Rockets play five in a row out west with stops against the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Clippers after the matchup with the Lakers.

Last time out was Houston's most dramatic victory during the streak.

Harden's go-ahead layup with 0.7 seconds left lifted the Rockets to a 113-112 victory on Wednesday night over the Washington Wizards in Space City.

John Wall sunk a pair of foul shots to stake Washington to a 112-110 advantage with four seconds to play.

Harden drew an away-from-the-play foul prior to the ensuing inbounds and made the free throw to get the Rockets within a point. Harden then got the ball at the top of the arc and split a pair of Washington defenders before driving in for the easy layup.

Kevin Seraphin's turnaround jumper from the left wing at the horn was off the mark.

"We were looking for them to foul on the first one and then get a layup on the second one. It worked out perfectly," said Houston head coach Kevin McHale.

Harden finished with 35 points, six rebounds and six assists, Dwight Howard tallied 24 points and 16 rebounds and Chandler Parsons added 18 points, 12 boards and six assists for Houston.

The Lakers dropped three in a row before the break and injuries have ravaged this team.

Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young and Jordan Farmar are all expected to be out Wednesday night.

On Thursday night, the Lakers lost their franchise-worst seventh straight home game when the Oklahoma City Thunder came to Hollywood and left with a 107-103 victory.

NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant scored 19 of his game-high 43 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Thunder.

"He's 14-for-33 so that's great defense. Anytime he shoots under 50 percent that's good," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of Durant.

Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson led six Lakers in double figures with 19 points apiece. Kaman also had 10 rebounds and six assists. Shawne Williams added 15 points and nine rebounds and Kendall Marshall had 14 points and doled out a game-high 17 assists for the Lakers.

The two teams split this season's matchups with both contests staged in Houston. The Lakers are 6-1 in their last seven against the Rockets in Los Angeles.

02/19 10:26:22 ET

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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Dallas85Final | Box
San Antonio «90
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. San Antonio leads series, 1-0.
Charlotte88Final | Box
Miami «99
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Miami leads series, 1-0.
Washington «102Final | Box
Chicago93
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Washington leads series, 1-0.
Portland «122Final(OT) | Box
Houston120
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Portland leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR