Yao Ming, who briefly left with a knee injury in the closing minutes, had 28 points and 10 rebounds, to lead the Houston Rockets to a physical 100-92 victory win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Ron Artest added 21 points and Aaron Brooks had 19 for the Rockets.
Kobe Bryant, who finished a distant second to LeBron James in NBA MVP voting announced earlier Monday, scored 32 points, doing his best to keep the Lakers in the game despite missing practice on Sunday with a sore throat.
Houston forward Shane Battier needed four stitches to close a gash over his left eye late in the first quarter.
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