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4/2/2001 - Houston Chronicle
Mavs earn playoff spot as Rockets fade
4/2/2001 - Dallas Morning News
Mavericks wrap up playoff berth with win in Houston
Game Over
Rockets trampled by Mavericks, playoffs near hopeless
By Clutch

Atleast one of the guards showed up offensively. Cuttino hit 11-23 shots, scoring a game-high 28 points and grabbing 8 boards.
That 1-12 shooting is a bit of an eyesore. Awful game for the Franchise, and he usually loves playing the Mavs.
Even if some fans haven't given up hope, the Rockets sure have.

Steve Francis had one of his worst games in recent memory while the Mavs fearsome foursome was too strong for the Rockets as the Mavs cruised in Houston 109-97 Tuesday night.

With all the marbles on the line, needing to catch the Timberwolves, the Rockets lost 6 of their last 8 games.

And you know it's bad when, at the end of the game, Bill and Calvin are talking about the offseason and where the Rockets will be drafting.

Francis missed his first 8 shots and was just 1-12 from the field, a dismal shooting night. His 9 assists were nice, but his bricks were killers.

The Mavs meanwhile got 86 points from their Big Four... Juwan Howard had his way inside, scoring 23, Michael Finley popped off for 27, Dirk Nowitzki -- with that smooth jumper -- cruised for 20 and Steve Nash added 16 and 9 assists.

Combined, they shot 58% against the Rockets. Ouch.

Cuttino Mobley had a very strong outing, hitting 11-23 shots to lead all scorers with 28 points and also grabbed 8 boards. He went Ironman as well, playing all 48 minutes.

Maurice Taylor returned from injury and scored 11 of his 16 in the first half. Hakeem Olajuwon knocked down 15 points and 8 boards in 23 minutes of play.

The Wizard, Walt Williams, added 12.

The Rockets shot below 40% and couldn't stop the Mavs from hitting over 51%. The Rockets trailed by as much as 20 points in the fourth before a 13-0 Rocket run, capped by a pair of triples (Walt and Cuttino), made things interesting.

Game Notes:
The good news was Maurice Taylor made his return from injury, and despite Steve Francis going 0-5 in the first period, the Rockets took a 32-29 edge heading in to the second period thanks to 8 each from Cuttino and Dream. Mo added 5. Juwan Howard led the Mavs with 11.

The Mavs took over in the second period however as the Rockets' defense, especially in the paint, was awful.

When Nowitzki and Maxwell hit back to back triples, and Nash stole the ball from Mo Taylor and went the other way for a layup, the Rockets were down 9 at 59-50.

Francis, who missed another three shots, made his first bucket with less than a minute left in the half. He was 1-9 at halftime.

When the half was all said and done, the Mavs had 67 points -- 38 in the second period -- as the Rockets trailed by 9, 67-58. The killers? Juwan Howard had 17 at intermission followed by Finley with 15.

Mobley led the Rockets with 14, Hakeem 12 and Mo Taylor 11.

The third quarter didn't get any better.

Dallas increased their lead and the Rockets could make no headway. With about 5 minutes to go, the Mavs missed a shot and Steve Nash went right between three flat-footed Rockets, got the board and put it back in, putting the Mavs up 81-65.

You could hear the boos start to come down from the rafters for the lack of effort by the Rockets.

The fourth quarter was garbage time. The Rockets never threatened. When Nash hit a jumper off a pick, it was 98-78 Mavs with 7:15 to go.

The lone excitement was when Vernon Maxwell got in Kelvin Cato's face because Cato jumped over Bradley's back for a board. Max picked up a 'T' shortly thereafter.

But with the Mavs up 100-80, the Rockets took off. When Walt nailed a triple with 3:15 left to cut it to 100-90, and when Cato swatted a Najera drive, Mobley responded on the fly with a trey and the Mavs had to call timeout, clinging to a 7-point edge. The run was 13-0 for the Rockets.

But the Dallas starters came back in -- Nowitzki nailed two jumpers and Finley another and the Rockets were done.

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