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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 27 22 9 21 79 UTAH 28 17 21 17 83 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 27, CUTTINO MOBLEY 19, WALT WILLIAMS 10 UTH - KARL MALONE 30, JOHN STOCKTON 19, SCOTT PADGETT 11

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - MOOCHIE NORRIS 7, EDDIE GRIFFIN 6 UTH - KARL MALONE 10, TWO PLAYERS WITH 7

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - THREE PLAYERS WITH 3 UTH - KARL MALONE 6, JOHN STOCKTON 6

ATT: 18,570


Extended Box

HOUSTON (79) AT UTAH (83)

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

THOMAS F 30 0-4 3-4 0 3 3 1 5 3 4 3 W WILLIAMS F 25 4-9 0-0 1 3 4 0 2 2 1 10 CATO C 29 3-3 0-0 0 3 3 0 6 0 1 6 FRANCIS G 23 9-15 5-6 0 4 4 3 1 0 1 27 MOBLEY G 42 7-18 1-3 1 0 1 3 4 1 4 19 GRIFFIN 29 2-6 3-4 1 5 6 0 4 0 2 9 NORRIS 34 2-10 0-0 1 6 7 3 0 0 3 5 K WILLIS 7 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 MORRIS 16 0-2 0-0 3 2 5 0 0 1 1 0 TORRES 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION COLLIER DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 27-69 12-17 7 27 34 12 24 8 18 79 (.391) (.706) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 19(18 PTS)

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

MALONE F 38 11-23 8-10 3 7 10 6 2 2 1 30 MARSHALL F 21 4-6 0-0 3 4 7 0 2 0 2 8 JA COLLINS C 21 1-2 0-0 0 3 3 2 2 0 0 2 STEVENSON G 22 1-4 1-2 0 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 STOCKTON G 31 9-16 1-1 1 3 4 6 1 1 3 19 CROTTY 21 2-5 1-1 1 1 2 3 1 0 0 5 KIRILENKO 28 0-5 3-4 2 5 7 1 1 2 4 3 OSTERTAG 9 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 RUSSELL 26 1-8 0-0 2 3 5 0 1 0 1 2 PADGETT 23 4-6 0-0 1 2 3 1 4 1 2 11 AMAECHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION STARKS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 33-75 14-18 13 33 46 21 17 9 17 83 (.440) (.778) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 17(13 PTS)

HOUSTON 27 22 9 21 - 79 UTAH 28 17 21 17 - 83

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - THOMAS 4, CATO, W WILLIAMS, GRIFFIN. UTAH - JA COLLINS 2, STEVENSON, PADGETT, RUSSELL. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 13-28 (.464), THOMAS 0-1, W WILLIAMS 2-4, FRANCIS 4-7, MOBLEY 4-7, GRIFFIN 2-3, NORRIS 1-4, MORRIS 0-1, TORRES 0-1. UTAH 3-15 (.200), MALONE 0-1, STOCKTON 0-2, CROTTY 0-1, KIRILENKO 0-2, RUSSELL 0-5, PADGETT 3-4. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - FRANCIS 2 (EJECTED), UTAH - DEFENSIVE THREE. OFFICIALS: JOE CRAWFORD, LEROY RICHARDSON, PAT FRAHER. A - 18,570. T - 2:05.


Box Score

HOUSTON (79) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Thomas 30 0-4 3-4 0-3 1 5 3 W Williams 25 4-9 0-0 1-4 0 2 10 Cato 29 3-3 0-0 0-3 0 6 6 Francis 23 9-15 5-6 0-4 3 1 27 Mobley 42 7-18 1-3 1-1 3 4 19 Griffin 29 2-6 3-4 1-6 0 4 9 Norris 34 2-10 0-0 1-7 3 0 5 K Willis 7 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 2 0 Morris 16 0-2 0-0 3-5 0 0 0 Torres 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Brown DNP - coach's decision Collier DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 27-69 12-17 7-34 12 24 79 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.391, FT-.706. 3-Point Goals: 13-28, .464 (Thomas 0-1, W Williams 2-4, Francis 4-7, Mobley 4-7, Griffin 2-3, Norris 1-4, Morris 0-1, Torres 0-1). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 7 (Thomas 4, Cato, W Williams, Griffin). Turnovers: 19 (Mobley 4, Thomas 4, Norris 3, Griffin 2, Cato, Francis, K Willis, Morris, W Williams). Steals: 8 (Thomas 3, W Williams 2, Mobley, Morris, Torres).

UTAH (83) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Malone 38 11-23 8-10 3-10 6 2 30 Marshall 21 4-6 0-0 3-7 0 2 8 Ja Collins 21 1-2 0-0 0-3 2 2 2 Stevenson 22 1-4 1-2 0-3 2 3 3 Stockton 31 9-16 1-1 1-4 6 1 19 Crotty 21 2-5 1-1 1-2 3 1 5 Kirilenko 28 0-5 3-4 2-7 1 1 3 Ostertag 9 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 Russell 26 1-8 0-0 2-5 0 1 2 Padgett 23 4-6 0-0 1-3 1 4 11 Amaechi DNP - coach's decision Starks DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-75 14-18 13-46 21 17 83 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.440, FT-.778. 3-Point Goals: 3-15, .200 (Malone 0-1, Stockton 0-2, Crotty 0-1, Kirilenko 0-2, Russell 0-5, Padgett 3-4). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 5 (Ja Collins 2, Stevenson, Padgett, Russell). Turnovers: 17 (Kirilenko 4, Stevenson 3, Stockton 3, Marshall 2, Padgett 2, Malone, Ostertag, Russell). Steals: 9 (Kirilenko 2, Malone 2, Stevenson 2, Ostertag, Padgett, Stockton). ____________________________________________ Houston 27 22 9 21 - 79 Utah 28 17 21 17 - 83 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 2 (Francis 2 (ejected), 0:19 1st, 9:48 3rd). Utah 1 (Defensive Three, 8:46 1st). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,570. T: 2:05. Officials: Joe Crawford, Leroy Richardson, Pat Fraher.


Game Story

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz knew who to give the ball when the game was on the line.

Karl Malone made eight free throws in the fourth quarter, including a pair that snapped a tie with 25 seconds left, as the Jazz posted an 83-79 victory over the stubborn Houston Rockets, who could not overcome the ejection of Steve Francis.

The Jazz (19-16), who have won three straight and seven of their last eight, moved three games over .500 for the first time this season.

"It was a tough game and we are always pleased with a victory," said Jazz guard John Stockton, who scored 19 points. "I think we have a little more confidence coming down the stretch."

Malone finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and played in his 1,308th game -- all with the Jazz -- to move into fifth place on the all-time list.

After scoring 27 points in the first half, Francis was ejected just 2:12 into the third quarter for throwing an elbow at Stockton.

"It was just unfortunate that it had to happen like that," Francis said. "Good players just fight through stuff like that. That's why I displayed that I'm a good basketball player and just walked off the court without any problems."

The Rockets did not fold without their talented guard and stayed in the game in the second half, tying the contest, 79-79, on Cutino Mobley's jumper with 39 seconds left. Mobley finished with 19 points.

But Malone's two free throws put the Jazz up for good. Houston's Moochie Norris front-rimmed a 20-footer with eight seconds left and Utah's Andrei Kirilenko hit two foul shots a second later to clinch the victory.

"It was a competitive game that could have gone either way," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "I was proud of the way our guys didn't give up. If we were in a horseshoes tournament we would have been pretty good because we were close, but we ain't playing horseshoes."

With Francis scoring more than 50 percent of their total offensive ouput, the Rockets managed a 49-45 lead at the intermission.

"I thought in the first half we were able to do what we set out to do early, trying to neutralize Karl Malone," Francis said. "I thought we did a great job of stopping him and also I was fortunate enough to knock down some shots."

"He had 27 points at halftime and looked like he was going for 60," Utah coach Jerry Sloan added.

The Jazz took advantage of Francis' absence to allow just nine points in the third quarter and took a 66-58 lead into the final period.

But the Rockets responded. After Malone made a pair from the line to make it 68-58, the Rockets responded with a 19-4 burst.

Eddie Griffin's 3-pointer gave Houston a 73-72 lead with 5:52 to go and Norris' jumper and Mobley's dunk extended the advantage to 77-72 with 4:37 to play.

But Houston went scoreless for nearly four minutes and the Jazz tied the contest, 77-77, on Malone's jumper with 3:07 remaining.

Scott Padgett contributed 11 points off the bench for the Jazz, who have won 17 of their last 19 meetings against the Rockets.

"I think we showed a lot of character coming back (from the five-point deficit," Utah reserve John Crotty said. "I think in past games earlier in the year, we might have lost."

Malone was held to 10 points in the first half. He scored eight in the third quarter and 12 in the final period.

"I'm glad we played well down the stretch," Utah forward Bryon Russell said. "Now we are on what you would call a winning streak."

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