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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 25 23 30 22 100 DENVER 34 22 23 26 105 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 26, MAURICE TAYLOR 21, CUTTINO MOBLEY 19 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 30, RAEF LAFRENTZ 18, ANTONIO MCDYESS 18

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 10, STEVE FRANCIS 8 DEN - RAEF LAFRENTZ 12, ANTONIO MCDYESS 10

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - MOOCHIE NORRIS 6, TWO PLAYERS WITH 4 DEN - THREE PLAYERS WITH 6

ATT: 12,674


Extended Box

HOUSTON (100) AT DENVER (105)

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

ANDERSON F 12 1-3 0-1 0 1 1 2 4 0 1 2 TAYLOR F 38 10-19 1-2 4 3 7 4 3 1 5 21 THOMAS C 25 2-6 1-2 1 6 7 0 3 1 2 5 FRANCIS G 44 9-16 4-5 2 6 8 4 6 2 0 26 MOBLEY G 42 7-23 4-4 2 8 10 2 1 1 2 19 WILLIAMS 13 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 2 BULLARD 11 2-5 0-1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 5 NORRIS 33 6-8 3-6 1 2 3 6 2 0 2 16 ROGERS 22 2-3 0-0 1 4 5 0 1 1 0 4 CATO DNP - PARTIALLY TORN ROTATOR CUFF COLLIER DNP - COACH'S DECISION LANGHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-85 13-21 13 30 43 18 22 7 13 100 (.471) (.619) TEAM REBS: 10 TOTAL TO: 13(16 PTS)

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

MCDYESS F 42 6-19 6-8 2 8 10 3 1 0 3 18 POSEY F 29 1-4 0-0 0 6 6 6 3 0 1 3 LAFRENTZ C 35 8-12 0-2 4 8 12 2 2 0 1 18 LENARD G 38 5-11 1-2 2 3 5 2 1 2 1 15 VAN EXEL G 38 7-13 13-15 0 4 4 6 2 0 1 30 MCCLOUD 17 3-5 1-2 0 3 3 6 2 0 1 8 PACK 16 2-7 3-3 1 2 3 5 2 2 2 7 WILLIS 19 2-6 0-0 2 0 2 0 1 2 0 4 BOWEN 6 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 ABDUL-WAHAD DNP - COACH'S DECISION JOSEPH DNP - COACH'S DECISION STRICKLAND DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 35-79 24-32 12 34 46 30 14 6 11 105 (.443) (.750) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 12(13 PTS)

HOUSTON 25 23 30 22 - 100 DENVER 34 22 23 26 - 105

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - MOBLEY 2, ANDERSON 2, THOMAS, ROGERS. DENVER - LAFRENTZ 4, MCDYESS 2, BOWEN 2, LENARD. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 7-18 (.389), THOMAS 0-1, FRANCIS 4-6, MOBLEY 1-5, BULLARD 1-4, NORRIS 1-2. DENVER 11-19 (.579), POSEY 1-4, LAFRENTZ 2-2, LENARD 4-7, VAN EXEL 3-5, MCCLOUD 1-1. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - MOBLEY, DENVER - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: JESS KERSEY, JIM KINSEY, SEAN CORBIN. A - 12,674. T - 2:15.


Box Score

HOUSTON (100) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Anderson 12 1-3 0-1 0-1 2 4 2 Taylor 38 10-19 1-2 4-7 4 3 21 Thomas 25 2-6 1-2 1-7 0 3 5 Francis 44 9-16 4-5 2-8 4 6 26 Mobley 42 7-23 4-4 2-10 2 1 19 Williams 13 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 1 2 Bullard 11 2-5 0-1 1-1 0 1 5 Norris 33 6-8 3-6 1-3 6 2 16 Rogers 22 2-3 0-0 1-5 0 1 4 Cato DNP - partially torn rotator cuff Collier DNP - coach's decision Langhi DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-85 13-21 13-43 18 22 100 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.471, FT-.619. 3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (Thomas 0-1, Francis 4-6, Mobley 1-5, Bullard 1-4, Norris 1-2). Team rebounds: 10. Blocked shots: 6 (Mobley 2, Anderson 2, Thomas, Rogers). Turnovers: 13 (Taylor 5, Mobley 2, Norris 2, Thomas 2, Anderson, Bullard). Steals: 7 (Francis 2, Mobley, Rogers, Taylor, Thomas, Williams).

DENVER (105) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 42 6-19 6-8 2-10 3 1 18 Posey 29 1-4 0-0 0-6 6 3 3 Lafrentz 35 8-12 0-2 4-12 2 2 18 Lenard 38 5-11 1-2 2-5 2 1 15 Van Exel 38 7-13 13-15 0-4 6 2 30 Mccloud 17 3-5 1-2 0-3 6 2 8 Pack 16 2-7 3-3 1-3 5 2 7 Willis 19 2-6 0-0 2-2 0 1 4 Bowen 6 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 2 Abdul-wahad DNP - coach's decision Joseph DNP - coach's decision Strickland DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-79 24-32 12-46 30 14 105 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.443, FT-.750. 3-Point Goals: 11-19, .579 (Posey 1-4, Lafrentz 2-2, Lenard 4-7, Van Exel 3-5, Mccloud 1-1). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 9 (Lafrentz 4, Mcdyess 2, Bowen 2, Lenard). Turnovers: 12 (Mcdyess 3, Pack 2, Bowen, Lafrentz, Lenard, Mccloud, Posey, Van Exel). Steals: 6 (Lenard 2, Pack 2, Willis 2). ____________________________________________ Houston 25 23 30 22 - 100 Denver 34 22 23 26 - 105 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 1 (Mobley, 1:38 1st). Denver 1 (Illegal Defense, 10:34 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 12,674. T: 2:15. Officials: Jess Kersey, Jim Kinsey, Sean Corbin.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- Nick Van Exel scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and Raef LaFrentz broke a tie with a 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining as the Denver Nuggets held on for a 105-100 victory over the Houston Rockets.

In the last two meetings between the teams, the Rockets have been unable to stop Van Exel when the game was on the line. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of Denver's 102-100 victory in Houston on December 16.

The Nuggets rebounded from Saturday's 97-79 loss at Dallas to stretch their home winning streak to eight games while improving to 19-5 at the Pepsi Center this season.

"I don't think they (Nuggets) play the prettiest basketball but you have to do what works and they were successful with what they were doing tonight," Denver coach Dan Issel said. "We seem to try to make great plays instead of taking advantage of the shots the defense gives us."

While the Nuggets have been tough at home, they are just 6-12 on the road.

"We're playing good team ball at home," Van Exel added, "but we have to find a way to win on the road."

Down as many as 14 points in the first half, the Rockets tied it, 100-100, on Steve Francis' uncontested layup with 44 seconds left.

But on the ensuing possession, LaFrentz came off a pick and swished a 3-pointer from the right corner. LaFrentz collected 18 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

"We were looking for Van Exel (on the last shot) or a post-up for (Antonio) McDyess and I guess I was wide open," LaFrentz said. "We ran that play a bunch and each time they were giving me more and more room."

"We made a couple of defensive miscues and LaFrentz gets an open 3-pointer," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "I'm happy with the way we hung in there."

After Houston's Matt Bullard missed a 3-pointer, Van Exel made a pair from the line with 17 seconds left to clinch the victory. Denver has won 10 of its last 12 games and 15 of its last 19.

"As I've said before, I don't think there's another guy in this league that I want running this team down the stretch," Issel said. "Nick hit some big shots and knocked down some big free throws that kept us in the lead."

Francis scored 26 points and Maurice Taylor 21 for the Rockets, who suffered their second straight loss and dropped back under .500 (20-21) at the midpoint of the season. Cuttino Mobley contributed 19 for Houston.

"Games like this come down to the last shot," Francis said. "Both teams were able to knock down some shots late in the game but they hit the last one."

Denver opened a 45-31 lead on Voshon Lenard's 3-pointer with 8:57 left in the second quarter before the Rockets pulled within 56-48 at the half.

After closing to 79-78 after three periods, Houston grabbed its first lead of the second half, 87-86, on two foul shots by Moochie Norris with 8:40 to play.

Mobley's layup gave Houston a 98-95 lead with 2:48 remaining but on the ensuing possession, Francis fouled Van Exel while attempting a 3-pointer with two seconds on the shot clock. Van Exel hit also three foul shots to tie it with 2:26 left.

"We got a three-point lead and I told the team not to give them any 3-pointers and we foul Van Exel on a 3-point shot," Tomjanovich said.

"That team is not going to quit," Issel added. "Getting behind by 14 is not going to shut them down. Other teams night give up but not Houston. They have too many weapons and too many people that can shoot the ball. They are going to battle until the end. Until Raef hit the 3-pointer, they were in it."

Van Exel hit two free throws to give Denver a 100-98 lead with 1:45 left before Francis tied it for the final time.

"Nick did a great job today," LaFrentz said. "His defensive assignment wasn't easy. He played Francis very well. At the end, he took over the game and scored like he's done the past few games."

McDyess also scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who shot just 44 percent (35-of-79) from the field but made 11-of-19 3-pointers.

Denver improved to 19-3 this season when scoring at least 100 points.

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