For the second time in Vancouver, Steve Francis got booed every time he touched the ball.
It looked like for the second time he would make them pay.
Francis' counterpart would have a say in the matter however as Grizzlie point guard Mike Bibby had a huge fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 27, and hitting a layup that bounced on the rim as time expired and slid in to give the Grizzlies the 102-100 win.
The Rocks led by as many as 18 points in the third period.
The Grizzlies meanwhile had lost 17 of their last 18 games so the win was huge. How sad is this franchise? This was their 20th win this season .... it's the first damn time in franchise history they've reached the "mystical 20-win" plateau.
A shame it resulted in a loss as Francis was brilliant, leading all scorers with 30 points, and it was Francis who was responsible for the Rockets being back in the game (it looked like they were out of it down 5 with a shade over a minute left). Two gorgeous running layups/runners, sandwiched around Michael Dickerson (19 points) making 1-2 free throws, tied the game at 100 with 5.8 ticks left.
He was so explosively quick all night and finished making 13-24 shots, but handed out just 5 assists. Bibby had 10 to go with his 27 points.
It was another good night for the Rockets on the boards also -- Kelvin Cato and Kenny Thomas (3-10, 10 points) combined to grab 24. Cato also hit 7-10 shots for 16 points (several slams of the Cato-esque variety) and swatted 5 shots.
Cuttino Mobley also played extremely well, draining 6-11 for 18 points in 28 minutes off the pine.He also grabbed 7 boards.
The Rockets led 54-46 at the half but threatened to blow out the Grizz in their own building early in the third.
After a series of no-look passes resulted in a slam by Cato and Francis nailed a three on the break, the Rockets led 62-46. The Grizz ran off 6 straight of their own to trim the lead to 10.
But the Rockets came roaring back, bumping the lead back up to 16, which set the stage for the highlight of the night:
Kenny Thomas stripped Shareef Abdur-Rahim (21 points, 14 boards), found Francis on a fast break who came flying in for the massive highlight reel jam over Big (Ass) Country Reeves. Francis hopped up and down, taunted somewhat and pointed at the fans and even met Calvin over at the press table to exchange a high five.
The fans kept booing but you could tell they were blown away.
He totally postered the big man.
But it was the Grizz who would have the last laugh.