Quick as a cat.
One game Cuttino Mobley looks like an inexperienced jack-happy guard who frustrates fans with what seems to be countless isolation shots, and the next he's looking like the guard of the future.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, Mobley was the latter Thursday night.
Fortunately for the Rockets, this is starting to become more common.
Mobley scored 23 points to help the Rockets pull out the 84-80 win over Charlotte Thursday night in the Compaq Center. The win ups the Rockets record to .500 ball at 5-5.
Cuttino, who started because Walt Williams was out with a strained groin/hip, scored 8 points in the final quarter, and none were bigger than his near impossible fadeaway jumper from 21-feet out as the shot clock expired with 1:30 left in the fourth. It gave the Rockets a 5-point lead and the Hornets couldn't recover.
Mobley has tremendous potential and isn't afraid to shoot the ball. He hit 10-16 shots from the floor and is now leading the Rockets in scoring with 18 a game and hitting 46% of his shots (up from last year -- 15.8 and 43%... see Season Stats)
You could tell Steve Francis pressured at times in his matchup against Davis (Davis, also a point guard, was the 3rd pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, right behind Francis). Steve hit just 6-17 shots, but finished with 13, 7 boards and 6 assists.
Maurice Taylor knocked down 17 points on 8-14 from the floor, but still isn't that rebounding presence in the paint. Just 2 boards in 35 minutes of action.... compare that with Kenny Thomas, who saw just 23 minutes of play but chewed up 7 caroms off the glass to go with 8 points.
Hopefully this can be a nice balance and not an issue for the team: the terrific offensive talents of Mo vs. to the rebounding ability that Kenny brings to the team.
Hakeem Olajuwon also made his presence known, and has now the past few games. Hakeem scored all 11 of his points in the first half and also grabbed 8 boards.
For the Hornets, Baron Davis scored a team-high 20 points while Jamal Mashburn, who was smoking hot early, finished with 18 and 11 boards.
In fact it was the guards/wing players that did the damage against the Rockets as Davis, Mashburn and David Wesley hit 50% of their shots (24-48) while the rest of the Hornets connected on just 35%.
The Rockets jumped out early, but the hot shooting of Jamal Mashburn sparked a 7-0 Hornets run, giving Charlotte a 19-15 lead. They led by two after one, 21-19. Hakeem scored 9 points and grabbed 4 boards in the first period to lead the Rockets.
The Rockets took back the lead early in the second, with the hero being Jason Collier (believe it). Collier scored 4 points to help spark a 7-0 Rockets run of their own, and took a 38-29 lead. After a Moochie Norris three-pointer from the top of the key the Rockets led 43-35.
The half seemed like it was going to end in Rockets' style as Moochie milked down the clock, drove the lane, drew defenders and then found Hakeem alone for a one-hand power slam with 3.1 seconds left.
But no one picked up Baron Davis as he drove the court, fired up a three and hit nothing but net. Rockets 47, Hornets 41 at the half.
Hakeem led the Rocks with 11 points and 6 boards while Francis added 8. Mashburn led all scorers at the half with 12.
Baron Davis came out smoking to start the third and the Rockets complete slumped. Before you could blink the Hornets had made up 13 points, leading 59-52. However, a Mobley three-point play sparked a 7-0 Rockets run to tie the game.
The Hornets led 65-64 through three.
We pick it up late in the fourth with the Rockets trailing 75-74. Kenny Thomas hit a pair of free throws, then with the shot clock running down picked up a deuce to give the Rockets a 78-75 lead with 3:45 to go.
Derrick Coleman (12 points) responded with a mini-hook in the lane over Dream, but with 2:30 to go Maurice Taylor scored on an acrobatic layup and it was 80-77.
Then came the shot of the game. After a Coleman miss, Francis miled the shot clock down and tried to go around a defender but lost the ball... it bounced right to Mobley who with two guys in his face threw up an impossible fadeaway jumper right inside the three-point line...
BOOYAH! Rockets lead 82-77 as Mobley dances back down the court with a huge smile on his face.
The Rockets forced a Baron Davis miss.... and after Francis milked the clock down, he found Hakeem who missed, but Francis put it back in with 20 seconds left to seal the game.