Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar Get Another Chance to Pick On Rockets Today

Times Staff Writer

If the Houston Rockets really are going to meet the Lakers in the playoffs, then they're going to have to start figuring out how to defend against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Maybe, the Rockets will get a brainstorm today in their nationally televised game with the Lakers at the Summit (Channel 2, 12:30 p.m. PST). So far, nothing has worked.

The Lakers have won 14 in a row, including one playoff game, at the Summit, but as dominating as the Lakers have been, no one has made a greater impact than Abdul-Jabbar.

In three Laker-Rocket games this season, all won by the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar is averaging 41.3 points.

Against the Rockets, since Akeem Olajuwon's rookie season of 1984-85, Abdul-Jabbar has averaged 34.9 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, shooting 64.7%, and the Lakers are 7-1.

For the Rockets to meet the Lakers in the playoffs, it could only be in the Western Conference final, assuming Houston holds onto its No. 2 seeding as division champion. Then, in the first two rounds, the Rockets would have to defeat probably Sacramento, plus the winner of what looks like a Denver-Portland series.

Laker Notes Starting point guard Allen Leavell missed the last Rocket game because of a sprained wrist, but he could be back to play the Lakers . . . Mike McGee, who did not play in Thursday night's victory over Sacramento, practiced with the team Friday and traveled with the Lakers Saturday. McGee's strained left knee isn't expected to keep him out of the game with Houston . . . If the Lakers win today, the will have reached the 60-victory level for the second consecutive season and the fourth time since the team moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.

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