(Game Recap coming...
... Game Notes below)
Richard Hamilton, Courtney Alexander and Christian Laettner got the Wizards off to a great start while Mobley (1-6) and Kenny Thomas made just 2 of their first 9 shots combined -- Wizards 25, Rockets 16 after one.
The Rockets shot just 28% in the first quarter.
The first part of the second quarter was just painful to watch... several missed shots for both teams (Wizards were 4 of their first 19 in the second quarter), but When Laron Profit slammed home a miss, the Wizards had a 17-3 advantage in second-chance points (12 offensive boards for the Wizards to 4 for the Rockets) and led 34-27.
But Moochie Norris hit a long two, then Hakeem burned Jahidi White for a bucket to bring the Rockets within 3.
A Francis jumper got the Rockets to within 34-33 with 2:15 left, but from there the Rockets went cold and the Wizards ran off 6 straight points before the half.
When Laron Profit nailed a triple at the half buzzer, the Wizards went in to the locker room with a 43-35 lead.
Each team shot roughly 34% in the first half... just sick. Francis actually led the Rockets with 7. Moochie and Hakeem added 6. Kelvin Cato had 5 blocks in the first half.
After Jahidi White scored to start the second half, Kenny Thomas scored on a three-point play, then dropped in another deuce. When Hakeem drained back to back jumpers, and Kenny hit 1-2 at the line, the Rockets were within 47-45.
Poster job of the night: Francis drove baseline and threw down a massive one-hand slam over Jahidi White, bringing out the ooohs and aaahs from the Washington crowd. The highlight jam brought the Rockets to within 54-53.
The Rockets had several chances to take the lead but couldn't do it -- and when Laettner scored and Laron Profit nailed a three, the Wizards were up 59-53. Timeout Rockets.
It woke up Francis and Hakeem. Steve drained a triple, then Hakeem got an offensive board and put it back in. When Francis made an amazing behind the back pass to a trailing Hakeem for two on a fast break, the Rockets had tied the game at 62.
It was 65-63 Washington after three.
When Walt hit a three, the Rockets led 72-70 with just over 9 minutes left in the game. Bullard followed that up with a triple of his own and the Rockets were up 75-70.
When Bull faked a triple and drove to the hoop for the bucket and foul, the Rockets were on an 11-0 run and took an 80-70 edge. Timeout Washington with 5:15 to go.
The Rockets scored 4 more points to up the run to 15-0 and from there it was smooth sailing.