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Olajuwon Awesome In Rockets Win

It's the same old Hakeem Olajuwon.

During the final quarter Wednesday night, when the Houston Rockets needed it the most, Olajuwon scored 16 of his 26 points and led the Houston Rockets to a 114-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

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  • "We've seen that before," said Denver's Antonio McDyess of Olajuwon, who was 5-for-6 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line in the final period. "The man can still take over games."

    "I was just going with the flow and not trying to do anything extra," Olajuwon said. "I think experience is part of it, and part of it is having the luxury of Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen. When we needed the offense I was rested and ready to do it."

    Reserve Othella Harrington added 23 points. Barkley added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Pippen had 12 points and 10 assists as the Rockets beat the Nuggets for the ninth straight time.

    "Dream made some great moves inside, hit the big free throws and made some big steals," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We have to work on some of the end-of-game situations. We did well for a while and then had a lax play here and a lax play there, and we weren't running back on defense."

    Chauncey Billups led Denver with 22 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter. Antonio McDyess was held to 17 points after scoring at least 20 in each of his previous five games.

    Denver's Nick Van Exel received two technicals and was ejected for arguing with 5:42 left in the third quarter.

    After leading by as many as 26 points in the third quarter, the Rockets took a 91-72 advantage into the final period.

    "We were dead at the start and lacked commitment," Denver coach Mike D'Antoni. "We just seemed to not know what to do, and then Chauncey really stepped it up at the end."

    Billups hit two 3-pointers as Denver scored the first eight points of the quarter to pull to 91-80.

    Pippen's jumper wit 2:30 left put the Rockets up 109-96, but Denver then went on a 10-0 run, cutting Houston's lead to 109-106 on a pair of free throws by McDyess with 22 seconds left.

    "We lacked energy and people were confused in the first half," Billups said. "The team settled down to just play basketball in the second half and I caught fire at the end. But we didn't have enough to make it all the way back."

    Olajuwon then sealed the victory by making four straight free throws.

    Notes: Houston is 3-4 on the second night of back-to-back games. ... Denver's scoring average is 17.9 points higher at home than on the road. The Nuggets are 6-4 at home, 0-12 on the road. ... Houston's 61 points in the first half were the most Denver has given up in a half this season.

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