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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 37 14 14 28 93 CHICAGO 22 22 19 27 90 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 27, WALT WILLIAMS 17, CUTTINO MOBLEY 13 CHI - TONI KUKOC 29, ELTON BRAND 15, MATT MALONEY 14

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - WALT WILLIAMS 9, ANTHONY MILLER 8 CHI - ELTON BRAND 11, RON ARTEST 7

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 11, KENNY THOMAS 4 CHI - TONI KUKOC 7, THREE PLAYERS WITH 3

ATT: 22,261


Extended Box

HOUSTON (93) AT CHICAGO (90)

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

WILLIAMS F 39 7-12 1-2 3 6 9 3 1 1 0 17 BULLARD F 16 1-3 2-2 0 1 1 1 3 0 1 4 MILLER C 28 4-7 1-7 3 5 8 1 4 0 1 9 FRANCIS G 41 12-17 0-0 2 2 4 11 2 2 3 27 ANDERSON G 28 3-10 2-2 3 4 7 1 4 1 1 8 THOMAS 32 4-10 3-7 1 4 5 4 2 2 1 11 MOBLEY 29 5-10 1-1 0 1 1 3 3 0 6 13 DREW 7 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 CURLEY 20 2-4 0-0 3 2 5 0 3 1 1 4 GRAY DNP - COACH'S DECISION OLAJUWON DNP - INGUINAL HERNIA ROGERS DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT THUMB

TOTALS 240 38-76 10-21 15 26 41 25 22 7 14 93 (.500) (.476) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 15(16 PTS)

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

KUKOC F 42 9-18 10-13 3 3 6 7 3 2 2 29 BRAND F 41 6-14 3-4 3 8 11 1 4 1 3 15 SIMPKINS C 32 0-4 0-0 1 3 4 1 5 0 1 0 ARTEST G 38 3-12 5-6 2 5 7 3 2 1 1 12 MALONEY G 34 6-14 0-0 0 0 0 3 0 1 1 14 WILLOUGHBY 14 1-2 2-3 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 4 ANSTEY 7 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 3 0 0 0 RUFFIN 9 3-4 0-1 4 1 5 1 1 0 0 6 CARR 14 4-5 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 8 PERDUE 9 1-2 0-0 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 2 C BENJAMIN DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE BROWN DNP - SORE LEFT KNEE

TOTALS 240 33-76 20-27 15 23 38 21 20 6 10 90 (.434) (.741) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 12(15 PTS)

HOUSTON 37 14 14 28 - 93 CHICAGO 22 22 19 27 - 90

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - WILLIAMS, FRANCIS. CHICAGO - KUKOC, BRAND, ARTEST, RUFFIN, CARR. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 7-17 (.412), WILLIAMS 2-4, BULLARD 0-2, FRANCIS 3-5, ANDERSON 0-1, MOBLEY 2-4, DREW 0-1. CHICAGO 4-11 (.364), KUKOC 1-4, ARTEST 1-4, MALONEY 2-2, WILLOUGHBY 0-1. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - ILLEGAL DEFENSE 2, MOBLEY, CHICAGO - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: BILL SPOONER, TERRY DURHAM, KEVIN FEHR. A - 22,261. T - 2:17.


Box Score

HOUSTON (93) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Williams 39 7-12 1-2 3-9 3 1 17 Bullard 16 1-3 2-2 0-1 1 3 4 Miller 28 4-7 1-7 3-8 1 4 9 Francis 41 12-17 0-0 2-4 11 2 27 Anderson 28 3-10 2-2 3-7 1 4 8 Thomas 32 4-10 3-7 1-5 4 2 11 Mobley 29 5-10 1-1 0-1 3 3 13 Drew 7 0-3 0-0 0-1 1 0 0 Curley 20 2-4 0-0 3-5 0 3 4 Gray DNP - coach's decision Olajuwon DNP - inguinal hernia Rogers DNP - sprained right thumb _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-76 10-21 15-41 25 22 93 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.476. 3-Point Goals: 7-17, .412 (Williams 2-4, Bullard 0-2, Francis 3-5, Anderson 0-1, Mobley 2-4, Drew 0-1). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 2 (Williams, Francis). Turnovers: 15 (Mobley 6, Francis 3, Anderson, Bullard, Curley, Miller, Thomas). Steals: 7 (Francis 2, Thomas 2, Anderson, Curley, Williams).

CHICAGO (90) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Kukoc 42 9-18 10-13 3-6 7 3 29 Brand 41 6-14 3-4 3-11 1 4 15 Simpkins 32 0-4 0-0 1-4 1 5 0 Artest 38 3-12 5-6 2-7 3 2 12 Maloney 34 6-14 0-0 0-0 3 0 14 Willoughby 14 1-2 2-3 0-0 3 2 4 Anstey 7 0-1 0-0 0-2 1 3 0 Ruffin 9 3-4 0-1 4-5 1 1 6 Carr 14 4-5 0-0 0-0 1 0 8 Perdue 9 1-2 0-0 2-3 0 0 2 C Benjamin DNP - sprained right ankle Brown DNP - sore left knee _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-76 20-27 15-38 21 20 90 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.434, FT-.741. 3-Point Goals: 4-11, .364 (Kukoc 1-4, Artest 1-4, Maloney 2-2, Willoughby 0-1). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 5 (Kukoc, Brand, Artest, Ruffin, Carr). Turnovers: 12 (Brand 3, Carr 2, Kukoc 2, Artest, Maloney, Simpkins). Steals: 6 (Kukoc 2, Artest, Brand, Carr, Maloney). ____________________________________________ Houston 37 14 14 28 - 93 Chicago 22 22 19 27 - 90 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 3 (Illegal Defense 2, 0:31 3rd, 4:13 4th; Mobley, 11:23 4th). Chicago 1 (Illegal Defense, 4:38 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 22,261. T: 2:17. Officials: Bill Spooner, Terry Durham, Kevin Fehr.


Game Story

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- They may have the NBA's worst record, but one thing the Chicago Bulls cannot be accused of is giving up.

For the third straight game, a spirited second-half comeback fell short as the Bulls suffered a 93-90 loss to the Houston Rockets after nearly erasing a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes.

Chicago had a chance to take the lead, but former Rocket Matt Maloney missed two jumpers in the final 15 seconds before rookie Dedric Willoughby's off-balance 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer missed the rim.

On Friday, the Bulls shaved a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to two before suffering an 89-83 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. Three days earlier, they spotted the New York Knicks a 27-point lead in the second quarter before pulling within two in the fourth quarter.

"It was disappointing that we could not get a shot to drop down the stretch," Chicago coach Tim Floyd said. "We tried to get Toni (Kukoc) off a screen and they did a fine job of switching. The final shot was to go to Toni. They switched and put Willoughby in a bail-out situation."

Rookie Steve Francis scored 19 of his 27 points in the first quarter for the Rockets, who snapped a five-game losing streak at the United Center. Walt Williams added 17 points for Houston, which made just 10-of-21 from the foul line.

"It sure looked like we wanted to give it away," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "It was our free throws that killed us."

Francis made 8-of-11 shots in the first quarter, helping the Rockets race to a 37-22 lead. Overall, Houston was 15-of-27 in the period.

"I felt it early in the game," Francis said. "It felt like every shot would go in. They played a lot of 1-on-1 and I was able to take it to them. They adjusted and ran a double-team at me later."

Francis cooled off and the Bulls were able to pull within 65-63 entering the final quarter by holding the Rockets to just 10 points in the third period. Houston had opened a 61-46 lead on Francis' layup with 8:30 left in the quarter.

"Steve Francis came out and was playing amazing," Chicago rookie Michael Ruffin added. "He was on fire to say the least, to score 19 points in the first quarter. No one has done that against us in the first quarter all year long. He played well, but we were able to regroup and put some different defenses on him and shut him down for the rest of the game."

Francis handed out 11 assists and set up Anthony Miller's layup that gave the Rockets a 91-83 lead with 2:31 remaining. He danced downcourt on defense, a celebration that turned out to be a bit premature.

"I was not celebrating early," Francis said. "I was showing my team how excited I was."

Kukoc scored 29 points and rookie Elton Brand added 15 for the Bulls, who have dropped three straight after their first three-game winning streak of the season.

"They're a professional team and play with pride," Williams said. "In the third quarter, they knuckled down and got rebounds and made their shots."

Cuttino Mobley, who hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, converted a technical foul shot for an illegal defense to give Houston an 88-78 lead with 4:38 remaining.

But the Rockets seemed to unravel down the stretch after Miller's layup gave them an eight-point lead. Maloney and rookie Ron Artest made driving layups before Maloney followed in his own miss to pull the Bulls within 91-89 with 1:07 to play.

Only the ensuing possession, Mobley was called for traveling, the Rockets' second straight turnover. But Artest could hit only 1-of-2 from the line with 39 seconds remaining, making it 91-90.

Ruffin chased down the rebound after Artest missed his second shot, giving the Bulls a chance to take their first lead. The Bulls came up empty as Maloney missed a 19-footer with 14.6 seconds left.

Rockets rookie Kenny Thomas missed a pair from the line and Chicago again got the ball into the hands of Maloney, who missed a short jumper on the right baseline with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Thomas and Miller each hit 1-of-2 from the line in the final 3.6 seconds before Willoughby's desperation 26-footer came up well short.

Houston shot 50 percent (38-of-76) from the field while holding the Bulls to 43 percent (33-of-76).

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