The Dream is alive and kickin'.
Hakeem Olajuwon scored 23 points, grabbed 10 boards, blocked 3 shots and picked the game-winning steal as the Rockets went on to defeat the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns 94-89 in the Compaq Center Saturday night.
The win ups the Rockets' record to 6-5... the first time the team has played over .500 ball since the 1998-99 season.
Has it been that long?
The Suns' franchise must despise the Dream after all those years he tortured them. Olajuwon was deadly accurate, hitting 9 of the 12 shots he put up, and the best news of all for the Rockets is the last few games he has come alive.... improving each game. Everyone was praising his play:
Steve Francis on Dream:
Great to see this, though it almost didn't finish well as Dream almost got killed with a few minutes left in the third...
"He played great. I think today he showed the people who say he's washed up that he can still play. And he did it against the fastest team in the NBA."
Rudy Tomjanovich on Dream:
"That's the Dream of old. I've been watching the Nostalgia Channel on TV lately and seeing a lot of his old cat-like moves. For stretches, he's been doing that again.""
Scott Skiles (Suns coach) on Dream:
"He was great. It looks like he's been better the last few games for them. I think he's rounding into better playing condition. He was a big factor in the first half and made two critical defensive plays down the stretch.""
And to think the Rocks expressed a lot of interest in Rodney Rogers when he was a free agent a year and a half ago... the man is now on our Hit List (along with the likes of John Stockton, Jalen Rose, Karl Malone and Public Enemy #1, Scottie Quitten) after his flagrant foul on Dream with a few minutes left in the third quarter that almost initiated a riot in the Compaq Center. He had one of his shots blocked moments earlier by Dream.
"I think he was just frustrated by the block," Hakeem would later say.
Rogers was given the heave ho by the refs.
Not to be lost in the shuffle of the Olajuwon party is the brilliant play of Steve Francis.
The Rockets' second year point scored 25 points on 8-17 shooting, grabbed 7 boards and dished out 8 assists (to just 2 turnovers) in 43 minutes of play. He hit the game-sealing free throws and put the game away with an exclamation point with a last second slam.
He also took over the team's scoring leader title from Cuttino Mobley
(see Season Stats)
Speaking of Mobley, he didn't fall too far behind. Cat scored 17 points -- 8 of which came in the critical fourth quarter -- grabbed 6 boards and tallied 3 assists in just 24 minutes.
No wonder Rogers was so pissed.... he was Sixth Man of the Year last year but he wasn't even the best Sixth Man on the court Saturday.