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11/4/2003 - Newark Star-Ledger
Yao a big man still making small strides
11/3/2003 - New York Times
Mourning and Yao: Two Big Bodies Collide
11/3/2003 - New York Daily News
Nets: Yao measures up
11/3/2003 - Newark Star-Ledger
Nets: Van Gundy looks worried
11/3/2003 - New York Post
'ZO: Ew Gotta Be Hungry
11/3/2003 - New York Post
Numb Nets Run Out Of Gas
11/3/2003 - New York Post
Jeff Says Yao's Gotta Get Nasty
11/3/2003 - New York Post
Van Gundy's Roots Still In The Garden
11/3/2003 - New York Daily News
Old Van runs into new Mourning
11/3/2003 - New York Daily News
Van's 'D' fuels Rocket victory
11/3/2003 - New York Times
Outside Shooting by Rockets Sinks Nets
11/3/2003 - New York Times
Van Gundy Feels at Home, Even if He's Across the River
11/3/2003 - New York NewsDay
Wired Van Gundy Driving Rockets
11/3/2003 - New York NewsDay
Nets Run Out of Gas
11/3/2003 - Houston Chronicle
Francis, Rockets rise up to Nets
Francis Saves Day In Jersey
Rockets close game on 14-1 run, defense looks for real in win over Nets
By Clutch
NOVEMBER 4, 2003 9:17 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. NETS

Big Man Matchup: Yao finished with 11 points, 10 boards and one huge spin move on Zo (AP photo)
It's hard to pass up on the hot-shooting duo of Mobley and Taylor and put a guy here who was 6-17 from the floor, but it was Francis who sparked the surge, willing the team to victory late. 17 points, 10 boards and 6 assists for the Rockets playmaker.
Not for his stats and not for the effort, but just because he was abused by that Yao Ming baseline spin and slam move. Ouch! If you missed it, check out the sampled clip by a fan
Steve Francis struggled badly to start Tuesday night's game in New Jersey.

But that's not how he finished it.

Francis was the batteries in the Rockets game-closing 14-1 run and Houston held New Jersey under 34% shooting as the Rocks stunned the Nets 86-75.

The win ups the Rockets mark to 3-1 on the year.

Francis finished with 17 points, 10 boards and 6 assists, but that doesn't mean many fans weren't screaming for his benching early on.

Steve couldn't buy a basket in the first half, missing all 8 of his attempts. The second half? 15 points on 6-9 shooting.

"He's still their best player," Nets forward and former Rocket draftee Richard Jefferson told NewsDay. "Yao is a great player, an up-and-comer, but Steve can destroy a team on his own."

I disagree with that, but hey it's nice to argue over which player kicks ass more.

Speaking of hot shooting, Cuttino Mobley and Maurice Taylor were huge. Mobley hit 8-9 shots for 20 points and handed out 4 assists. Mo came off the bench for his best game so far this season, hitting 7-10 shots for 14 points and 7 boards in 28 minutes of action.

While the offense cooked late, it was defense throughout that was key.

Through the first 4 games of the season, the Rockets are holding opponents to a shade over 76 points a game, some 16 points less than opponents scored against Houston last season.

If Van Gundy is having an impact, look no farther than the defensive effort. This, truly, is a different team.

And that is in large part because of guys like Jim Jackson. So far he has turned out to be a very smart pickup by the Rockets. Jackson finished with 12 points, 8 boards and 4 steals in a rock-solid 40 minutes of play.

They gave up a last year contract in Glen Rice for what I thought was much too little, but there's no doubt that Jim Jackson is a much better fit for this team.


Clutch can be reached at clutch@clutchcity.net and also can be followed on Twitter



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