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Olajuwon’s 38 Lead Rockets Past Nuggets

United Press International

Akeem Olajuwon scored 24 of his game-high 38 points in the second half Saturday, and the Houston Rockets held off a fierce rally by the Denver Nuggets to score a 126-119 victory in Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series.

Lewis Lloyd added 28 points, 18 in the first half, and Ralph Sampson had 20 for Houston. Alex English led Denver with 34 points, and Calvin Natt added 28.

Game 2 will be played here Tuesday night.

Houston led by 10 points with just under 10 minutes left on a three-point play by Olajuwon, but English rallied the Nuggets to within 115-113 with 2:45 left.

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Olajuwon sank two field goals to counter an English free throw, but Natt hit Denver’s fourth three-point shot of the period with 1:40 left to cut Houston’s lead to 119-117.

Houston’s Mitchell Wiggins sank two free throws, Rodney McCaray made a free throw, Sampson stole the ball, and Robert Reid hit twice at the line to put the Rockets out of reach with 24 seconds left.


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