Thursday, January 24, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 78



Dallas guns down Rockets

Rockets Roundup

Chris Bello

The Rockets returned to the Compaq Center on Wednesday night to face Dallas, which has won 18 of its last 21 games.

The Rockets were without Kenny Thomas, who was suspended for three games without pay and fined $15,000 by the league for an incident in
the Rockets' game against Atlanta.

The game was a classic Texas shootout. The teams were even at 34 points to end the first quarter, but Houston could not match the Mavericks'
young guns. At halftime, the Rockets faced an 11-point deficit.

In the second half with guard Cuttino Mobley leading the way, the Rockets got off on a 12-3 run and cut the lead to one point.

Late in the game, Dallas veterans Tim Hardaway and Steve Nash nailed two clutch threes which gave the Rockets another painful loss, 113-107.

Nash finished with 31 points, along with 25 from Dirk Nowitzki. Mobley led all scorers with 35, shooting 13-19 from the field. The Rockets shot
23-32 from the free-throw line.

The Rockets wrapped up a five-game road trip through the East on Monday against the Atlanta Hawks, finishing the trip with a 1-4 record. Their
only win came against the Boston Celtics. Houston's season record is now just 13-28.

Unfortunately, this has been the case all season. In many of its losses, Houston held a lead against the opposition but was unable to close out

At halftime, the Rockets nursed a six-point lead. Keeping the game in striking distance, Atlanta was able to regain the lead in the third quarter.
Despite losing Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the Hawks were able to match the intensity of the Rockets, going on to win 95-91.

This win snapped a six-game losing streak for Atlanta. Both Abdur-Rahim and Kenny Thomas were ejected in the third quarter after an
altercation. Abdur-Rahim was hit with a technical foul after having words with referee Ron Garretson.

This escalated emotions, leading to the scuffle on the next series down the court. With Thomas trying to establish position in the post,
Abdur-Rahim was caught with an elbow.

Abdur-Rahim took a swing at Thomas. The players exchanged punches before being separated, though neither player landed a blow. The two
were charged with a double technical foul, and both were ejected.

All this emotion lifted Atlanta to a 13-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Rockets went on a 9-2 run to pull within two points.

Atlanta's Nazr Mohammed had a big tip-in off Jason Terry's missed lay-up, giving the Hawks a four-point advantage. Mohammed finished with 18
points and 17 boards.

The Rockets again got within two, after Kelvin Cato tipped in a missed attempt by Steve Francis, but could get no closer.

Francis finished one rebound shy of another triple-double with 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. The team got a solid performance from
rookie Eddie Griffin, who finished with 16 points, four blocks and nine boards.

Even though the team is off to a rough start, the Rockets are only seven games out of the final playoff spot, but they seriously need to get it

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