With Yao Ming sidelined by a sore foot, Dikembe Mutombo scored 10 points with 15 rebounds as the Houston Rockets beat Golden State 113-109 in a National Basketball Association contest.
Luis Scola added a career-high 28 points for the Rockets, who kept their tenuous grasp on the third seed in the Western Conference.
Mutombo, 42, made a rare start after Yao was scratched from the lineup shortly before the game.
Yao played in the Rockets’ victory over Sacramento on Thursday and took part in pre-game warm-ups on Friday but was kept out of the game after complaining of pain in his right foot.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Yao felt the discomfort during Tuesday’s game against Orlando, but X-rays indicated there was no bone damage.
“The doctor checked it already,” Yao said. “In two days, it will be fine. It’s not bad. We want to stop it before it gets bad. In the Orlando game it got sore. I played last game, but today it was sore.”
Yao missed 35 games last season with a stress fracture in his other foot.
“Anytime you have anything come up like that, especially at this time of the year, I’m concerned,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman told the Chronicle. “He’s had problems with his feet. So we’re hoping it’s something that will just be a one-game thing and he’ll be back on Monday.”
Mutombo had played in just eight games this season but produced the 471st double-double of his 17-year NBA career.
Ron Artest added 19 points and six assists for the Rockets, who remained one half-game in front of Portland and San Antonio for the third seed.
The Rockets have won four straight games and close the regular season with a home game against New Orleans tomorrow and at Dallas on Wednesday.
TRAIL BLAZERS 106, LAKERS 98
At Portland, Brandon Roy scored 24 points with eight assists on Friday as Portland defeated Los Angeles, leaving them one game below the league-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kobe Bryant scored 32 points for Los Angeles, but missed a key three-pointer. The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player also made a crucial turnover and missed a jump shot in the final minute.
The Trail Blazers notched their eighth straight victory over Los Angeles in Portland.
“Even when we’re having championship runs, we usually come up here and get our butts kicked,” Bryant said. “They play us tough here.”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson didn’t travel with the team because of pain in his lower right leg.
Assistant Kurt Rambis stood in for the 63-year-old Jackson. The Hall of Famer was set to rejoin the team for practice yesterday and wasn’t expected to miss any more games.
Portland remained tied with San Antonio as they vie for home court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Blazers beat the Spurs on Wednesday and if they finish with matching records Portland will hold the tiebreaker because they won the season series.
PISTONS 100, NETS 93
At Auburn Hills, Michigan, the home team secured a postseason berth with a 100-93 victory over New Jersey.
Will Bynum scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace chipped in 15 as the Pistons booked a return trip to the playoffs for the eighth straight year.
“We’re getting better and better every game,” said reserve guard Bynum, who provided part of the 46-point contribution from the Pistons bench. “They said that whichever team is playing the best going into the playoffs is pretty dangerous. Hopefully, we can be that team.”