Cuttino Mobley did his damndest to send out a big middle finger to Lottery Race 2000, but in the end it wasn't enough.
Mobley scored bucket after bucket in the fourth quarter, helping the Rockets trim a once 23-point first half lead down to 5, but the Pacers, led by Jalen Rose held on for the 111-102 win in Conseco Fieldhouse.
The loss is the 6th straight for the Rockets and drops their record to 24-41.
The Rockets had no answer for Rose, who scored a career high 35 points, hitting 14-24 shots. Rose is still on our dartboard from his undercutting of Mario Elie back in 1996 when Rose was a Denver Nuggets scrub. This didn't help.
Austin Croshere also had a career night, scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 boards.
Watching Mobley in the fourth though was awesome. The Rockets milked Mobley isolation plays to death in the final frame as Cuttino consistently got by his man and hit tough shot after tough shot -- 15 of his 25 points came in the fourth (6th Man of the Year? Oh definitely).
The damage for Mobley was the 25 (on 9-14 shooting), plus 4 boards, 4 assists and 3-5 from long range. Cat is now officially averaging 22.5 points per game since becoming a father (keep those babies coming!)
Also impressive was Shandon Anderson, who hit 7-13 shots for 22 points, 6 boards and 6 assists. Walt Williams hit 7-17 shots in 28 minutes for 16 points and 5 boards.
Steve Francis struggled, hitting just one field goal in the first half and finishing with 12 points on 4-14 from the field. What was probably the most unimpressive thing about his performance though was in 41 minutes he had just one assist -- and 2 turnovers.
Moochie Norris added 10 points on 4-5 shooting (Go Mooch). Bryce Drew again got the dreaded DNP -- Coach's Decision ... just gets more and more interesting.
Kenny Thomas returned to action from his knee injury, after missing the game in Milwaukee. Starting, Thomas was just 1-5 from the field in 19 minutes, finishing with 2 points.
Fortunately Hakeem Olajuwon played fairly well in 15 minutes, hitting 3-7 for 8 points, 6 boards and a pair of swats. Who would have ever thought though on a team that is 24-41 Hakeem would be able to go just 15 minutes?
Kelvin Cato hit both shots he took (one a nice 'oop dunk late) and also grabbed 8 boards and returned 3 shots to sender.
Indiana came out smoking and buried the Rockets early, taking a 35-21 lead after one. The Rocks could manage to hit just 8-25 shots in the first period, while Indiana sizzled, hitting around 60%, leading by as much as 23 and took a 66-45 lead into halftime.
It was the fourth quarter though where the Rockets, sparked by Mobley, hit 11-19 shots and got as close as 5 points, but that was as close as they came.