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11/9/1999 - Houston Chronicle
O'Neal blames Barkley's frustration
11/9/1999 - Houston Chronicle
Barkley not about to let anyone kick sand in his face
11/9/1999 - Houston Chronicle
Heavyweights act as prelim to narrow loss
11/9/1999 - Los Angeles Times
It's Wrong Kind of a Shaq Attack
No Shaq, No Kobe, No Excuses
Shaq throws punch at Barkley, Rockets can't KO Lakers in 89-88 loss
By Clutch
NOVEMBER 10, 1999 10:44 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. LAKERS

Steve Francis was awesome at times, and his numbers obviously dwarf those of Rogers', but I was very impressed with Rogers' energy on both ends of the floor. In 20 minutes he scored 8 points on 4-8 shooting and grabbed 5 boards to go with a block.
All I ask if you don't think Hakeem has lost the fire is that you do one thing: Pop in a tape. Pop in a tape of Hakeem pre-1997. 1995 or before is even better. You will be amazed. There are no excuses for not playing much better against a team that was missing Shaquille. Whatever Olajuwon is lacking he needs to find it... otherwise he needs to realize he's just a pretty good role player on this team.
The Rockets are all out of excuses.

The Lakers, already without the injured Kobe Bryant, lost Shaquille O'Neal via ejection in the second quarter after Craq threw (and missed) a vicious punch at Charles Barkley (who responded by flooring Shaq with a nice WWF-esque move) and still beat the Rockets 89-88 on the Compaq Center floor.

The Rockets, down 6 with under 2 minutes to go in the game, came back and had the ball down 1 with 17 seconds to go, but virtually dribbled the entire clock out.

Steve Francis missed a shot he basically got off after the buzzer. Francis was in fact fouled (said Laker coach Phil Jackson, "I thought my guy fouled him very effectively" -- drawing laughs), but there was no call and you can't cry over it. The Rockets shouldn't have waited that long to get a shot off in the first place.

The Rockets fall to 0-5 and 0-6 is a mere technicality after they play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday. Shaquille O'Neal will most likely be suspended, as will Barkley (who was ejected along with Shaq), but the Rockets have shown they can't handle the Lakers even without their two biggest stars.

Hakeem Olajuwon played for a paycheck if he gave that much, hitting just 5-18 from the floor. Sure he finished with 15 points, 10 boards and a pair of blocks, but as TBS analyst John Thompson said over and over, he lacks the fire that has made him Hakeem Olajuwon. They even asked Glen Rice after the game about Hakeem's lack of fire and Rice said Hakeem needs to realize his team needs his leadership more than ever.

Rookie Steve Francis had a very good game (26 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals and 6 turnovers) but showed he's a rookie, making a costly turnover late in the game and also dribbled out too much clock at the end of the contest.

No other Rocket scored in double figures. Cuttino Mobley (1-6 from the floor, 9 points, 5 assists, 5 boards), Walt Williams (7 points), Shandon Anderson (6 points) and Tony Massenburg (6 points) weren't big factors.

Bright spot? We liked the play of Carlos Rogers, who scored 8 points and grabbed 5 boards in 20 minutes.


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



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