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12/31/2001 - Houston Chronicle
Rockets can't win for losing and losing
12/31/2001 - Los Angeles Times
Lakers Bottle Rockets
Rockets Look Sick in LA
Francis sits, Mobley bricks, every Laker scores as LA routs Rocks
By Clutch

Full Recap coming...
Game Notes found below

Game Notes:
The bad news came early -- Steve Francis would not play due to the flu. Kenny Thomas, as expected, was also not available due to a hip pointer.

The first minute started out great, with Eddie Griffin hitting two mid-range jumpers off the baseline to get the Rockets up 4-2. But it ended there. The Lakers ran off 11 straight points. After Moochie Norris hit a jumper to end the run, Samaki Walker and Rick Fox each scored easily inside, and the Rockets had to call timeout, down 17-6.

Moochie came out of the break on fire.... he scored two straight buckets, then found Cato underneath for a wide-open slam. After Kobe Bryant scored, Mooch then nailed a 20-footer and it was 19-14 Lakers. When Cuttino Mobley found Griffin for a reverse two-hand slam, it was 21-16 Lakers.

After one, it was 23-16 Lakers. Moochie led the Rockets with 8 on 4-6 shooting while Griffin added 6. Kobe (10 points, 3 assists, 2 boards) got the best of Mobley, who was 0-5 from the field (and 0-3 from long range). The Rockets shot just 36% from the floor in the first quarter while the Lakers hit just under 46%.

The second quarter the Lakers pulled away. After Robert Horry scored on a driving deuce and after Tierre Brown threw a pass that bounced off Kevin Willis' hands, Mitch Richmond hit a three and it was 37-22 Lakers. Another Richmond three, followed by a Derek Fisher jumper made it 42-26 Lakers.

Mobley finally got on the board at the 6:20+ mark of the second quarter with two free throws. He was 0-7 from the floor at this point.

The Rockets cut the lead to 10 in the final minute of the half after Mobley hit two free throws and Walt Williams drained a triple, but Horry hit a wide-open three (after the Rockets triple-teamed Kobe with the ball) with just over 3 seconds left in the quarter, giving us the halftime score of Lakers 55, Rockets 42.

At half, the Lakers bench outscored that of the Rockets 22-11. The Rockets were 2-9 from long-range compared to the Lakers' 5-9. Moochie led the Rockets with 10 points and 4 assists while Walt added 7. Cuttino had decent all-around numbers at 6 points, 5 boards and 4 dimes, but was 0-8 from the floor. Kobe on the other hand had 14 and 6 assists while Rick Fox added 9 points.

Mobley drove right off the bat and had a shot goaltended clearly by Samaki Walker -- but they didn't call it. The Rockets got the ball back and tt resulted in Cato getting fouled going for two (he made 1-2 at the line), but Walt twisted his ankle on the play and had to leave the game.

The Rockets cut it to 55-47, but the Lakers, sparked by a Rick Fox three, ran off 7 straight points to boost the lead back to 15. Mobley missed two more shots (now 0-11 from the floor), but Moochie and Cato each scored to make it 62-51 Lakers.

Crazy play ... Eddie Griffin swatted Rick Fox, but Derek Fisher got it behind the halfcourt line, drove through two Rockets and threw up a prayer from 25-feet out.... it sank. 72-57 Lakers.

Mobley finally made a basket from the floor -- a triple -- midway through the third. He hit another later to give him what would be his only two made baskets from the floor for the game. He was 2-16 through three quarters, but had 18 points thanks to 12-12 shooting at the line, as the Rockets trailed 84-70 through three.

Cat missed a shot early in the fourth and soon called it a night. Apparently so did the Rockets. LA just made it a rout and the only interesting thing left was Willis clapping sarcastically afer a foul call against him and getting tossed by the ref with 7:15 to go.

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