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12/15/2002 - Houston Chronicle
Rockets find a revival
Rockets Survive Heat
Houston narrowly avoids another collapse, beats Miami in overtime
By Clutch
DECEMBER 16, 2002 8:38 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. HEAT

Rookie Swats Rookie
Yao Ming got just six shots in this game, but still finished with 15 points, 12 boards and 5 blocks - most impressive was that 8 of his 12 boards were offensive
The script was already written:

Can't Take The Heat: Rockets blow third straight to league chumps.

Cuttino Mobley made one blunder and Steve Francis several late that appeared to write that story as Miami turned a 12-point fourth quarter deficit in to a 3-point edge with 6 seconds left in overtime.

That was before Yao Ming handed off a pass to Francis and laid a pick to free Stevie for yet another buzzer-beating three, this one tying the game and forcing overtime, where the Rockets took care of business and beat the Heat 105-100.

It was a sweet play -- a repeat of the regulation buzzer-beater against the Grizz where Yao set up Francis for the big triple.

52 rebounds for the Rockets as a team, with 21 of them coming from centers Yao and Cato. Houston dominated the Heat for the first three quarters on the glass.
12 assists total for the team. TOTAL. Throw in 18 turnovers and the numbers don't lie -- this team isn't much of a "team" on offense.

Mobley led all scorers with 27 points on 9-20 shooting, hitting 3 triples and knocking down a couple of big shots in overtime, while Francis had 21 points, 6 assists and 6 boards, going 7-17 from the field.

But folks, this game never should have gone in to overtime.

Francis missed two free throws with 1:10 left and the Rockets guards did not make the best of decisions in crunch time, while their apparent new method of getting the ball to Yao Ming is to miss a shot and let him clean it off the glass.

Yao had 8 offensive rebounds, finishing with 12 boards total to go with 15 points and 5 blocks. But he took just 6 shots (making 5) in the offense, despite playing 41 minutes. Francis and Mobley meanwhile combined for 37 shots.

When Moochie Norris gets as many shots as a player like Yao, it means that either your offensive set is terrible or your guards can't spot teammates that are less than 7'7" tall. It all adds up to be an exercise in frustration for fans because we're losing out on not being able to see smart basketball.

But at the same time, Brian Grant (16 points, 8 boards) did a good job of making it tough for Yao to establish position, and he also used his quickness advantage at times against Yao (though the Rocket big fella made up for it by getting him in foul trouble).

Eddie Griffin was huge in overtime. He scored 6 points, including two clutch free throws with 9 seconds left that put Houston up 103-100. Those free throws were only made possible though because Francis picked the ball from Eddie Jones (32 points) as the Heat were going for the final shot for the win.

Griffin finished with 15 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks, but hit just 5-14 shots.

Also adding 15 points was Glen Rice, who was 6-8 from the floor, including a pair of trifectas. Rice also added 8 boards. In fact, on the boards the Rockets were monsters in this game. They were outrebounding Miami 42-20 at one point and finished with a 54-40 edge on the glass, with Kelvin Cato adding 9 more caroms off the bench.


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



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