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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 27 20 30 18 95 DALLAS 20 28 23 29 100 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - HAKEEM OLAJUWON 27, STEVE FRANCIS 21, TWO PLAYERS WITH 15 DAL - MICHAEL FINLEY 27, DIRK NOWITZKI 26, JUWAN HOWARD 19

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - HAKEEM OLAJUWON 13, STEVE FRANCIS 10 DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 13, MICHAEL FINLEY 8

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 4, MOOCHIE NORRIS 4 DAL - STEVE NASH 7, MICHAEL FINLEY 5

ATT: 18,187


Extended Box

HOUSTON (95) AT DALLAS (100)

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

TAYLOR F 32 6-14 3-4 1 4 5 3 1 1 2 15 WILLIAMS F 30 2-6 0-0 1 3 4 2 3 0 0 5 OLAJUWON C 33 10-16 7-13 5 8 13 2 1 0 5 27 ANDERSON G 45 3-12 2-3 1 8 9 3 3 1 2 8 FRANCIS G 45 8-21 2-4 3 7 10 4 5 4 3 21 THOMAS 21 2-5 0-0 1 3 4 0 2 0 1 4 NORRIS 34 6-7 2-2 0 2 2 4 2 3 2 15 CATO DNP - COACH'S DECISION S COLSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION LANGHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION MOBLEY DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE ROGERS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 37-81 16-26 12 35 47 18 17 9 15 95 (.457) (.615) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 15(12 PTS)

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

BUCKNER F 17 0-4 0-0 2 1 3 2 0 0 1 0 HOWARD F 32 8-11 3-4 0 3 3 0 5 3 2 19 NOWITZKI C 43 10-18 3-3 0 13 13 2 2 0 1 26 FINLEY G 44 11-21 4-4 2 6 8 5 2 4 4 27 NASH G 29 6-13 4-4 2 3 5 7 3 0 2 17 EISLEY 37 2-8 0-0 0 3 3 4 5 1 1 4 MAXWELL 22 2-7 1-2 0 2 2 2 1 1 1 5 NAJERA 4 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 BRADLEY 12 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 0 1 0 1 2 BRYANT DNP - COACH'S DECISION HARVEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION TRENT DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-83 15-17 6 34 40 22 20 9 13 100 (.482) (.882) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 13(18 PTS)

HOUSTON 27 20 30 18 - 95 DALLAS 20 28 23 29 - 100

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - FRANCIS, WILLIAMS, OLAJUWON. DALLAS - NOWITZKI 5, FINLEY 3, BRADLEY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 5-15 (.333), WILLIAMS 1-4, ANDERSON 0-1, FRANCIS 3-8, THOMAS 0-1, NORRIS 1-1. DALLAS 5-15 (.333), NOWITZKI 3-6, FINLEY 1-1, NASH 1-3, EISLEY 0-1, MAXWELL 0-4. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - FRANCIS, NORRIS, TAYLOR. OFFICIALS: BOB DELANEY, DEREK RICHARDSON, SCOTT WALL. A - 18,187. T - 2:13.


Box Score

HOUSTON (95) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Taylor 32 6-14 3-4 1-5 3 1 15 Williams 30 2-6 0-0 1-4 2 3 5 Olajuwon 33 10-16 7-13 5-13 2 1 27 Anderson 45 3-12 2-3 1-9 3 3 8 Francis 45 8-21 2-4 3-10 4 5 21 Thomas 21 2-5 0-0 1-4 0 2 4 Norris 34 6-7 2-2 0-2 4 2 15 Cato DNP - coach's decision S Colson DNP - coach's decision Langhi DNP - coach's decision Mobley DNP - sprained right ankle Rogers DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-81 16-26 12-47 18 17 95 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.457, FT-.615. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Williams 1-4, Anderson 0-1, Francis 3-8, Thomas 0-1, Norris 1-1). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 3 (Francis, Williams, Olajuwon). Turnovers: 15 (Olajuwon 5, Francis 3, Anderson 2, Norris 2, Taylor 2, Thomas). Steals: 9 (Francis 4, Norris 3, Anderson, Taylor).

DALLAS (100) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Buckner 17 0-4 0-0 2-3 2 0 0 Howard 32 8-11 3-4 0-3 0 5 19 Nowitzki 43 10-18 3-3 0-13 2 2 26 Finley 44 11-21 4-4 2-8 5 2 27 Nash 29 6-13 4-4 2-5 7 3 17 Eisley 37 2-8 0-0 0-3 4 5 4 Maxwell 22 2-7 1-2 0-2 2 1 5 Najera 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Bradley 12 1-1 0-0 0-3 0 1 2 Bryant DNP - coach's decision Harvey DNP - coach's decision Trent DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-83 15-17 6-40 22 20 100 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.482, FT-.882. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Nowitzki 3-6, Finley 1-1, Nash 1-3, Eisley 0-1, Maxwell 0-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 9 (Nowitzki 5, Finley 3, Bradley). Turnovers: 13 (Finley 4, Howard 2, Nash 2, Bradley, Buckner, Eisley, Maxwell, Nowitzki). Steals: 9 (Finley 4, Howard 3, Eisley, Maxwell). ____________________________________________ Houston 27 20 30 18 - 95 Dallas 20 28 23 29 - 100 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 3 (Francis, 8:05 1st; Norris, 6:35 3rd; Taylor, 10:04 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,187. T: 2:13. Officials: Bob Delaney, Derek Richardson, Scott Wall.


Game Story

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki gave the Dallas Mavericks the lead and Michael Finley kept them on top.

Nowitzki scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Finley scored six clutch points in the final 90 seconds as the Mavericks rallied for a 100-95 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Matched up against Hakeem Olajuwon, the 7-foot Nowitzki drilled consecutive 3-pointers around a block of a shot by Steve Francis to give the Mavs an 89-86 lead with 3:36 remaining.

Two free throws by Olajuwon and another by Shandon Anderson tied it with 2:51 left before Vernon Maxwell -- playing his first game since being signed Thursday -- made 1-of-2 from the line to give Dallas the lead for good.

Olajuwon missed two free throws and could only watch as Nowitzki went past him with a dribble drive for a 92-89 advantage with 2:08 to play.

"They made it a great ballgame, but I think we knew we had to get this one and that's how we approached it," Nowitzki said.

"He made some big plays, especially when he is breaking to the basket," Olajuwon said. "He also shot outside well, so in that kind of situation you just have to wait it out."

After Houston's Moochie Norris made a jumper, Finley made sure Dallas never relinquished the lead. He muscled Francis for a lane jumper and answered a layup by Francis with another basket for a 96-93 lead with 52 seconds remaining.

On the next possession, Finley drew an offensive foul on Francis and sank two free throws at the other end to make it 98-93 with 11 seconds to go. Francis dunked, but Steve Nash sealed it with a pair from the line with 7.3 seconds to play.

"It was a great team effort," Finley said. "We didn't put our heads down. We knew that there was a lot of ballgame left to be played and defensively we picked it up and it came down to making shots and we made them and they missed them."

Finley scored 27 points and Nash added 17 for the Mavs, who had lost the last five meetings with the Rockets but have won three in a row overall. Nowitzki pulled down 13 rebounds.

"We haven't had too much success against them, but tonight in the fourth quarter, we took it upon ourselves and we found a way to win," Finley said.

The Mavs trailed by as many as seven points in the final period but held the Rockets to 6-of-20 shooting.

"I think the defense in the fourth quarter was just great," Nowitzki said. "There will always be nights when you can't make your shots, so it's all about defense and that's what won us the game today."

"We gave the game away," Francis said. "I thought we outplayed them. But late in the game, in the fourth, when you go 6-for-20 you're not going to win like that."

Olajuwon had a season-high 27 points and 13 rebounds and Francis added 21 and 10 for the Rockets, who again were without injured guard Cuttino Mobley and used just seven players. Houston had a three-game road winning streak snapped.

The Rockets led 77-71 entering the final period and built their advantage to 81-74 on a 3-pointer by Francis with 9:24 to play. Consecutive baskets by Nash capped a 9-2 surge and pulled the Mavs into an 83-83 tie with 6:04 to go.

Olajuwon, who made 10-of-18 shots, had a three-point play before Nowitzki's consecutive 3-pointers.

"For those who have doubted whether Olajuwon can still play, think again," Mavs coach Don Nelson said. "He can probably play longer in this league if he wanted to -- what a good player."

Newcomer Juwan Howard scored 19 points for the Mavs, who shot 48 percent (40-of-83) and overcame a 47-40 rebounding deficit. Dallas inched closer to its first playoff berth since 1990.

"I think Houston will be a playoff team," Nelson said. "I think they will beat out somebody and I hope that somebody is not us -- that is why this is such a big win. When you haven't made the playoffs in so many years, you tend to look at who's coming up from behind so they don't catch you as opposed to who you might be passing up ahead of you."

Norris and Maurice Taylor scored 15 points apiece for Houston, which shot 46 percent (37-of-81) but made just 16-of-26 free throws.

Howard scored 14 points as Dallas grabbed a 48-47 halftime lead. Olajuwon had 12 points in the third quarter as Houston took a six-point advantage into the final period.

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