NBA: Lakers defeat Rockets for 7th place in Western playoffs

Los Angeles, April 18 (IANS) Paul Gasol led the Los Angeles Lakers with triple-double of 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists to beat the Houston Rockets 99-95 in overtime at Staples Center here.

With the win Wednesday, the Lakers survived an injury-plagued, tumultuous season to finish seventh in the NBA Western Conference (45-37). Although the Houston Rockets have the same record (45-37), and the two teams split their four meetings, the Lakers earn the higher seeding based on a better record in conference play, Xinhua reports.

The Lakers will face the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round while the Rockets will play the top-seeded and defending conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.

Steve Blake led the Lakers with 24 points, Dwight Howard contributed 16 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

The Rockets made about 20 fast-break points, James Harden led all scorers with 30 points; Chandler Parsons scored 23 points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime; Jeremy Lin added 12 points for the Rockets.

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