Lottery Race 2000 or no Lottery Race 2000, smacking Scottie Quitten upside the head is always a good thing.
Sparked by smoking hot 62% shooting, the Rockets went into Portland and stunned the mighty Blazers 118-105.
The Blazers, who pride themselves on their defense, had not allowed that high of a shooting percentage by an opponent all season.
If they could have stopped Shandon Anderson they still might not have.
Anderson punked Quitten and the Blazers for 30 points, missing just 2 (both three-pointers) of the 12 shot attempts he put up and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also hit all 9 free throws he shot in 44 minutes of action. Shandon was the man.
The "getting stronger with each game" guard trio for the Rockets played beautifully as along with Anderson, Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley put up very good numbers. Cat scored 22 points and grabbed 5 boards off the bench while 'Chise dropped in 18, 7 assists and snared 5 boards.
Throw in a little Wizardry from Walt Williams, who hit 7-10 shots (4-4 from CandyLand) for 18 points in 26 minutes, and you've got 88 of your 118 points.
Steve Smith (24 points) and Rasheed Wallace (21) paced the Blazers. Quitten finished with 15 points on 5-14 shooting and quite possibly could be drunk driving the wrong way down some Portland street as you're reading this.
The Rockets shot 74% (GOOD GOSH MAN!) in the second half as they outscored the Blazers by 16 points in the third and fourth quarters combined.
With the Rockets trailing 10-6, Mobley drained a three in Quitten's face, then Franchise got the bucket and foul on a fast break and the Rockets led 12-10. The Blazers took off though, increasing their lead to 25-20 before two Mobley free throws before the first quarter expired made it 25-22.
It was close throughout in the second quarter as Mobley dropped in 8 more points and Walt scored 7 and surprisingly, after a Cato slam, the Rockets trailed just 53-50 at half. Mobley led all scorers with 13 points, Walt had 9 and Shandon 8.
Both teams were shooting amazingly well. The Rocks hit 51+% of their shots while Portland was shooting over 54% from the field -- including 43% from long range.
The third quarter started out as the second ended, with a Cato slam. After 'Sheed banked in a jumper, Walt nailed a three to tie the game at 55, then nailed another three to take the lead. After Shandon hit a driving layup the Rockets led by 7 points, 62-55, and Portland was forced to grab a TO baby.
Kenny Thomas busted out of the TO by draining a three-pointer, then took a full-court pass from Shandon for the snowbird-esque layup and the Rockets led by twelve as the boos started to cascade down on the Blazers.
A Quitten three got it down to 9, but the Rockets didn't wilt and after a Shandon Anderson three it was a 13-point lead.
Then the Rockets started to wilt. Steve Smith capped a 9-0 Blazers run with 2 bullseye three-pointer to trim the lead to 4, 80-76.
Heading in to the fourth the Rockets led 85-80.
Francis scored early in the fourth, then set up Pig Miller for a jumper, prompting the Blazers' announcer to say "When Pig Miller pops jumpers on you, you've got problems". Steve Smith countered however with a three-point play and it was 89-85. A Quitten three off a second chance opportunity made it 91-88 Rockets.
Francis ended a scoring drought for both teams with a running one-hander, and after two Steve Smith free throws, Bullard hit a prayer runner in traffic that banked in (by a power not of this earth) and it was 95-90 Rockets.
Francis then torched the Blazers with a cold-blooded three and it was 98-91 Rockets with 6:45 to go. Mobley then scored a bucket on a drive, then nailed a technical free throw off an illegal defense, then nailed a shot and got fouled with 4:53 left. Mobley missed the free throw...
... but the Rockets played tight D on Portland and Shandon Anderson picked up a three-point play off a foul on Quitten and the Rockets led 106-93 with 4 and a half minutes to go.