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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 22 31 19 16 88 HOUSTON 28 11 26 29 94 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - LAPHONSO ELLIS 22, CORY ALEXANDER 22, BOBBY JACKSON 16 HOU - MARIO ELIE 23, CLYDE DREXLER 16, HAKEEM OLAJUWON 13


Box Score

DENVER (88) AT HOUSTON (94)

DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

L ELLIS F 41 8-18 5-6 1 12 13 2 4 0 1 22 FORTSON F 31 2-11 1-3 6 2 8 2 4 1 1 5 D GARRETT C 34 3-8 0-0 3 4 7 0 5 3 1 6 GOLDWIRE G 34 3-10 2-2 3 0 3 1 1 2 1 9 ALEXANDER G 39 8-19 4-4 2 2 4 7 2 3 4 22 STITH 24 1-8 2-2 1 2 3 4 1 1 0 4 JACKSON 23 6-12 4-4 1 4 5 1 1 2 1 16 H ELLIS 8 1-2 2-2 0 2 2 0 1 0 1 4 LAUDERDALE 6 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 BATTIE DNP - COACH'S DECISION NEWMAN DNP - DEATH IN FAMILY WASHINGTON DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-88 20-23 17 28 45 17 20 12 12 88 (.364) (.870) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 13(19 PTS)

HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

ELIE F 42 7-10 8-8 2 3 5 6 1 2 3 23 WILLIS F 27 4-7 0-0 0 4 4 1 2 0 0 8 OLAJUWON C 39 4-9 5-6 4 14 18 8 4 4 1 13 DREXLER G 29 6-13 1-1 3 7 10 3 2 2 4 16 MALONEY G 30 4-11 0-0 0 0 0 5 0 0 1 11 HARRINGTON 24 1-3 5-8 1 2 3 0 3 0 3 7 PRICE 20 2-6 2-2 0 0 0 1 4 0 2 8 JOHNSON 19 3-7 1-2 0 2 2 0 2 1 3 8 DAVIS 5 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 BULLARD 5 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 0 3 0 STEPHENS DNP - COACH'S DECISION JONES DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 31-71 22-27 10 34 44 24 19 9 20 94 (.437) (.815) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 21(21 PTS)

DENVER 22 31 19 16 - 88 HOUSTON 28 11 26 29 - 94

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - NONE. HOUSTON - OLAJUWON 6. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 4-20 (.200), L ELLIS 1-6, GOLDWIRE 1-4, ALEXANDER 2-4, STITH 0-3, JACKSON 0-3. HOUSTON 10-32 (.313), ELIE 1-3, DREXLER 3-10, MALONEY 3-9, PRICE 2-4, JOHNSON 1-2, DAVIS 0-3, BULLARD 0-1. TECHNICALS: DENVER - ASSISTANT COACH WINTER, FORTSON 2 (EJECTED), HEAD COACH HANZLIK. OFFICIALS: DAN CRAWFORD, TOM WASHINGTON, DEE KANTNER. A - 16,285. T - 2:13.


Agate Box Score

DENVER (88) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp L Ellis 41 8-18 5-6 1-13 2 4 22 Fortson 31 2-11 1-3 6-8 2 4 5 D Garrett 34 3-8 0-0 3-7 0 5 6 Goldwire 34 3-10 2-2 3-3 1 1 9 Alexander 39 8-19 4-4 2-4 7 2 22 Stith 24 1-8 2-2 1-3 4 1 4 Jackson 23 6-12 4-4 1-5 1 1 16 H Ellis 8 1-2 2-2 0-2 0 1 4 Lauderdale 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Battie DNP - coach's decision Newman DNP - death in family Washington DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-88 20-23 17-45 17 20 88 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.364, FT-.870. 3-Point Goals: 4-20, .200 (L Ellis 1-6, Goldwire 1-4, Alexander 2-4, Stith 0-3, Jackson 0-3). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 13 (Alexander 4, Lauderdale 2, D Garrett, Fortson, Goldwire, H Ellis, Jackson, L Ellis). Steals: 12 (Alexander 3, D Garrett 3, Goldwire 2, Jackson 2, Fortson, Stith).

HOUSTON (94) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Elie 42 7-10 8-8 2-5 6 1 23 Willis 27 4-7 0-0 0-4 1 2 8 Olajuwon 39 4-9 5-6 4-18 8 4 13 Drexler 29 6-13 1-1 3-10 3 2 16 Maloney 30 4-11 0-0 0-0 5 0 11 Harrington 24 1-3 5-8 1-3 0 3 7 Price 20 2-6 2-2 0-0 1 4 8 Johnson 19 3-7 1-2 0-2 0 2 8 Davis 5 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Bullard 5 0-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 0 Stephens DNP - coach's decision Jones DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-71 22-27 10-44 24 19 94 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.437, FT-.815. 3-Point Goals: 10-32, .313 (Elie 1-3, Drexler 3-10, Maloney 3-9, Price 2-4, Johnson 1-2, Davis 0-3, Bullard 0-1). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 6 (Olajuwon 6). Turnovers: 21 (Drexler 4, Bullard 3, Elie 3, Harrington 3, Johnson 3, Price 2, Maloney, Olajuwon). Steals: 9 (Olajuwon 4, Drexler 2, Elie 2, Johnson). ____________________________________________ Denver 22 31 19 16 - 88 Houston 28 11 26 29 - 94 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Denver 4 (Assistant Coach Winter, 3:28 3rd; Fortson 2 (ejected), 5:47 4th; Head Coach Hanzlik, 5:02 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,285. T: 2:13. Officials: Dan Crawford, Tom Washington, Dee Kantner.


Game Recap

Mario Elie tallied 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as the Houston Rockets, playing without forward Charles Barkley, avoided their first losing campaign in 14 years with a 94-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Hakeem Olajuwon had 13 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists for the playoff-bound Rockets, who are 41-39 with two games left. One more victory would give them a winning season for the 12th time in the last 13 years. Houston finished .500 in 1990 and has not had a losing season since going 29-53 under Bill Fitch in 1983-84.

"This has been a tough year for me with the trade rumors and being hurt," said Elie. "It has been a rollercoaster ride all year. But this is my time of the year. The playoffs are where I've made my reputation. I'm just trying to get my game in shape because I think we have as good a chance as any in the playoffs."

Elie, who is averaging 17.2 points over his last five games as the Rockets have gone 4-1, connected on 7-of-10 shots and 8-of-8 from the foul line.

Barkley was placed on the injured list before the game and will miss at least the rest of the regular season with a strained left groin.

LaPhonso Ellis collected 22 points and 13 rebounds and Cory Alexander added 22 points for the Nuggets, who have lost the last six meetings between the clubs.

"We played great in the first half then we came out flat in the third period and we couldn't make a shot," said Nuggets coach Bill Hanzlik. "It was about nine minutes before we got our legs back under us."

At 10-69, the Nuggets must win their three remaining games to avoid joining the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73), 1986-87 Los Angeles Clippers (12-70) and 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks (11-71) as the only teams in NBA history to lose 70 games in a season.

After trailing by 14 at halftime and by seven at the end of the third quarter, the Rockets took control with a 13-2 run to begin the final period.

Eddie Johnson opened the fourth by hitting 1-of-2 from the foul line and Elie converted three-point play and added a dunk to cut the deficit to 72-71 with 10:48 remaining.

Ellis briefly stemmed the tide with a tip-in, but the Rockets responded with a 7-0 run to take a 78-74 lead. Brent Price drilled a three-pointer and Olajuwon hit two from the line. Price capped the spurt with two foul shots with 7:58 remaining.

"There was a lot of frustration in the second quarter," said Olajuwon. "The game was out of control for us. We were not focused at that time. It was embarassing how we were playing. Everybody came in there and knew what we needed to do. We had to win this game."

The Rockets scored 27 of the first 35 points in the fourth quarter en route, building a 92-80 lead on a three-pointer by Johnson with 3:20 left.

Nuggets forward Danny Fortson was ejected midway through the fourth quarter by Dee Kantner for throwing a questionable punch at Othella Harrington.

"All I know is that we were battling for a rebound and she told me I was out of the game," said Fortson. "It was the biggest shock of my life. We were just playing hard. It must have been the Muhammed Ali punch -- now you see it, now you don't."

Clyde Drexler added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who play at Minnesota on Friday before closing the season Sunday against Phoenix.

Denver led 53-39 at the break but Houston opened the second half with a 16-0 burst. Drexler had five points and Elie four in the spurt, which was capped by Drexler's dunk that gave the Rockets a 55-53 lead with 6:20 remaining in the period.

"The defense was the difference," said Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich. "In the first half we were not as aggressive as we needed to be. We got a lift from our defense in the second half. We started knocking some balls loose and we had a 16-0 run to start the period."

The Rockets shot 31 percent (31-of-71) from the field, including connecting on 10-of-32 three-pointers. The Nuggets shot 36 percent (32-of-88) and hit on only 4-of-20 three-pointers.

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