Steve Francis made the Mavs, their 23 assistant coaches and Mark Cuban look silly.
Francis torched Dallas for a career-high 36 points Tuesday night as the Rockets upped their record to 10-8 with an impressive 109-102 win over the Mavericks in the Compaq Center.
Maurice Taylor and Kenny Thomas both sat out the game with the flu.
Francis was a beast... nailing 11-16 shots (3-5 from long ball), grabbing 10 boards, 5 of which were offensive, and handing out 5 assists while playing every single minute of the game.
In the last 2 games, Francis has hit 22-31 shots and is averaging 30 points, 7 boards and 5 assists a game. Not too shabby.
Though Francis is really starting to emerge, the best news of all may have been the emergence from a near season-long slump by Shandon Anderson. Anderson was "Shantastic", scoring 22 points on 8-13 shooting, grabbing 10 boards, handing out 5 assists and picking 3 steals.
By far it is the most aggressive Anderson has been since the Milwaukee game.
Anderson and Francis were fantastic, but the Mavs offered up Dirk Nowitzki (35 points, 12 boards) and Howard Eisley (career-high 24 points, 7 assists and 5 boards). Nowitzki is a man among boys... at 7'0 feet and playing small forward he is a tough matchup... not to mention he has a more than deft touch from the outside.
Michael Finley also was strong, scoring 22 points, 7 boards and 4 steals.
Dream, one day after venting about his role with the team, was also sharp in limited time. In just 24 minutes of action he scored 10, grabbed 7 boards and picked a pair of steals... not to mention one nasty dunk off an offensive board.
Cuttino Mobley had to get over the Brian Kagy jinx ("Every time I watch Mobley play, he sucks")... he hit just 4-13 shots (and 0-6 from trifecta territory), but still worked his way to the line enough times to manage 14 points and 5 assists.
Matt Bullard finished with 12 points, but his two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter turned a 4-point Rockets lead in to a 10-point bulge.
Also terrific -- Moochie Norris. Dude finished with 13 points and 4 assists. One funny thing (and incredibly dangerous) was with the game on the line (and about 3-4 minutes left in the contest) and the Mavs trailing just by 4-5 points, two times in a row Rudy T ran Moochie isolation plays.
That's right, Moochie.
The first time it failed miserably (he took it on Nowitzki -- not very wise) but the second time he scored... could have backfired in Rudy T's face there.
The Rockets as a team shot 50% from the floor and outrebounded the Mavs 40-34.
Before the game Mavs coach Don Nelson announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, so we wish him the very best in beating that. Interesting exchange in the game between he and Steve Francis too. With just seconds remaining in the game, Stevie was fouled just past half court but went on for a fancy dunk just the same, passing the Mavs bench for a quick look afterwards. Nelson didn't like it one bit, and told Francis "not to be an #$%^&@%" -- that hacked off Steve, who turned back to Nelson and was T'ed up by the refs for it.
"I'm his biggest fan," Nelson told the Houston Chronicle. "He's still young, and he needs to grow up, and that's what I told him. He is such a great player, and I told him after the game that I didn't want him to be like some of the jerks in this league."
Right after the game however both Nelson and Francis met and were exchanging hugs.