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Miller's lane violation proves costly for L.A.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Andre Miller's tendency to cross the foul line
before his free throws hit the rim cost him dearly Wednesday night.

Miller was called for a lane violation after hitting a go-ahead
free throw with one second left in regulation. The free throw was
nullified, Miller missed the second attempt and the Los Angeles
Clippers went on to lose 118-114 in overtime to the Houston
Rockets.

"It wasn't a violation, it's always Andre," said Clippers
center Sean Rooks. "I guess he just has a habit of falling across
the line. They've called it on him at least seven times."

"It's obviously a habit of his they're paying attention to,"
Rooks added. "They (referees) line themselves up at the foul line
and look for it."

NBA referees have been told to crack down on the violation this
season, and Miller has been one of their primary targets. Under
league rules, a player cannot cross the foul line after shooting
the ball until it reaches the rim.

Miller has a habit of letting his momentum carry him into the
lane too soon.

"I'm not talking," Miller said as he hurriedly left the
dressing room. "No comment."

Teammate Cherokee Parks, who scored a season-high 18 points, was
upset by the call.

"I've never seen that. I don't know who makes up our rules.
It's a technicality. With the game on the line, it's really
frustrating," Parks said.

Steve Francis and Glen Rice led Houston with 25 points each,
Francis scoring six in overtime.

"It isn't a miracle that it happened," Francis said. "Things
happen like that where guys step on the line and the next time
they're a little more nervous about the situation and he came up
short on the (second) free throw."

After a pair of baskets by Francis, the Rockets led 110-108.
Francis then stole the ball from Lamar Odom and passed to a
wide-open Rice for a breakaway slam to give Houston a four-point
lead with 39 seconds left.

The Rockets then sank six free throws, two each by Francis, Rice
and Cuttino Mobley, to secure the victory.

Mobley had 23, followed by Maurice Taylor with 18 and Yao Ming
with 10.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 29 points, while Miller had
22, Parks had 18 and Odom 17.

With the Clippers leading 90-84, Houston went on a 12-2 run to
move ahead to 96-92 with 4:22 left.

Los Angeles then scored nine in a row to lead 101-96 with 42
seconds remaining. Houston tied the game 104-104 with 13 seconds
left after 3-point shots by Rice and Francis.

Maggette scored 15 first-period points as the Clippers led 28-26
going into the second quarter.

Houston scored eight straight, five by Francis, to end the first
half and take a 55-54 lead.

Game notes
Houston snapped a five-game losing streak to the Clippers.
... Houston is 18-4 when Yao gets three or more blocks in a game...
The Clippers' bench has outscored their opponents' bench in 15 of
their last 17 games... Maggette has led the Clippers in scoring for
seven straight games.. Houston improved to 13-2 when Francis and
Mobley each score 20 points.

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