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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 18 18 27 23 86 HOUSTON 19 28 28 23 98 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - VOSHON LENARD 20, JAMES POSEY 19, RAEF LAFRENTZ 16 HOU - EDDIE GRIFFIN 25, KENNY THOMAS 15, STEVE FRANCIS 14

HIGH REBOUND: DEN - JAMES POSEY 16, RAEF LAFRENTZ 6 HOU - KELVIN CATO 10, EDDIE GRIFFIN 8

HIGH ASSISTS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 7, AVERY JOHNSON 7 HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 7, MOOCHIE NORRIS 7

ATT: 11,045


Extended Box

DENVER (86) AT HOUSTON (98)

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

BOWEN F 35 1-3 2-2 1 1 2 0 3 2 1 4 CHEANEY F 27 4-8 0-0 2 2 4 0 1 1 0 8 LAFRENTZ C 39 6-15 4-5 1 5 6 1 2 0 2 16 POSEY G 42 6-12 6-7 3 13 16 2 3 3 2 19 VAN EXEL G 33 2-14 0-0 0 4 4 7 1 1 3 4 WILLIAMS 12 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 HAMILTON 3 0-1 1-2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 LENARD 21 7-14 4-4 0 3 3 1 3 1 1 20 JOHNSON 28 7-12 0-0 1 0 1 7 0 0 3 14 ANDERSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION G MCCLOUD DNP - COACH'S DECISION SATTERFIELD DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 33-80 17-20 10 28 38 18 16 9 12 86 (.413) (.850) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 12(18 PTS)

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

THOMAS F 40 7-17 1-1 1 3 4 4 4 0 2 15 W WILLIAMS F 24 3-9 0-1 0 3 3 0 2 0 2 8 CATO C 25 4-7 4-6 1 9 10 0 3 0 0 12 FRANCIS G 46 4-8 5-7 1 4 5 7 3 0 5 14 MOBLEY G 43 5-14 1-2 0 2 2 3 2 3 2 13 GRIFFIN 27 10-11 2-2 1 7 8 0 1 0 1 25 TORRES 7 1-1 1-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 NORRIS 24 3-8 2-2 1 4 5 7 1 2 1 8 MORRIS 4 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION COLLIER DNP - COACH'S DECISION K WILLIS DNP - FLU

TOTALS 240 37-75 16-23 5 35 40 21 16 5 13 98 (.493) (.696) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 13(17 PTS)

DENVER 18 18 27 23 - 86 HOUSTON 19 28 28 23 - 98

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - BOWEN 2, LENARD, WILLIAMS. HOUSTON - GRIFFIN 5, THOMAS. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 3-14 (.214), LAFRENTZ 0-2, POSEY 1-5, VAN EXEL 0-4, LENARD 2-3. HOUSTON 8-14 (.571), W WILLIAMS 2-6, FRANCIS 1-1, MOBLEY 2-4, GRIFFIN 3-3. TECHNICALS: DENVER - VAN EXEL. OFFICIALS: JACK NIES, DAVID JONES, LUIS GRILLO. A - 11,045. T - 2:00.


Box Score

DENVER (86) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Bowen 35 1-3 2-2 1-2 0 3 4 Cheaney 27 4-8 0-0 2-4 0 1 8 Lafrentz 39 6-15 4-5 1-6 1 2 16 Posey 42 6-12 6-7 3-16 2 3 19 Van Exel 33 2-14 0-0 0-4 7 1 4 Williams 12 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 2 0 Hamilton 3 0-1 1-2 1-1 0 1 1 Lenard 21 7-14 4-4 0-3 1 3 20 Johnson 28 7-12 0-0 1-1 7 0 14 Anderson DNP - coach's decision G Mccloud DNP - coach's decision Satterfield DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 33-80 17-20 10-38 18 16 86 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.413, FT-.850. 3-Point Goals: 3-14, .214 (Lafrentz 0-2, Posey 1-5, Van Exel 0-4, Lenard 2-3). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 4 (Bowen 2, Lenard, Williams). Turnovers: 12 (Johnson 3, Van Exel 3, Lafrentz 2, Posey 2, Bowen, Lenard). Steals: 9 (Posey 3, Bowen 2, Cheaney, Lenard, Van Exel, Williams).

HOUSTON (98) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Thomas 40 7-17 1-1 1-4 4 4 15 W Williams 24 3-9 0-1 0-3 0 2 8 Cato 25 4-7 4-6 1-10 0 3 12 Francis 46 4-8 5-7 1-5 7 3 14 Mobley 43 5-14 1-2 0-2 3 2 13 Griffin 27 10-11 2-2 1-8 0 1 25 Torres 7 1-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 3 Norris 24 3-8 2-2 1-5 7 1 8 Morris 4 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 0 0 Brown DNP - coach's decision Collier DNP - coach's decision K Willis DNP - flu _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-75 16-23 5-40 21 16 98 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.493, FT-.696. 3-Point Goals: 8-14, .571 (W Williams 2-6, Francis 1-1, Mobley 2-4, Griffin 3-3). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 6 (Griffin 5, Thomas). Turnovers: 13 (Francis 5, Mobley 2, Thomas 2, W Williams 2, Griffin, Norris). Steals: 5 (Mobley 3, Norris 2). ____________________________________________ Denver 18 18 27 23 - 86 Houston 19 28 28 23 - 98 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Denver 1 (Van Exel, 9:02 1st). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 11,045. T: 2:00. Officials: Jack Nies, David Jones, Luis Grillo.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- After Saturday night, there is a glaring omission from this season's Rookie Challenge.

Rookie Eddie Griffin matched his season high with 25 points and dominated the second quarter as the Houston Rockets had little trouble en route to their most lopsided win in two months, 98-86 over the Denver Nuggets.

Earlier this week, the NBA named 19 players for the Rookie Challenge at All-Star Weekend. Griffin was left off the roster despite averaging 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last nine games, but displayed his full abilities against the Nuggets.

"I had a slow start but I think I'm proving them wrong now," he said. "I definitely wanted to show them that I'm good enough to be in it."

"After tonight, he ought to be in the NBA rookie game," Nuggets coach Mike Evans said. "Eddie Griffin shot the lights out, he made it tough for us. I knew he was going to get off on somebody and it happened to be us."

Griffin was considered the best high school player in the nation two years ago and left Seton Hall after just one season. With the Rockets battling a multitude of injuries, he is getting a lot of playing time for a 19-year-old and performing like a veteran.

"He's a bright guy," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We gave him a couple plays in practice and he picked them up quickly and that's now the foundation of his game. He has a good feel for the game, he's exciting to watch."

Houston had a 19-18 lead after the first quarter but dominated the second period led by Griffin, who scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. The Rockets made 11-of-19 shots in the quarter while the Nuggets were just 7-of-19.

Houston led by as many as 20 points in the second half and posted its first double-digit win since November 17 against Dallas.

Griffin made 10-of-11 shots overall, including all three of his 3-pointers. He collected eight rebounds and five blocks.

"Griffin showed everybody he should be on the All-Rookie team," Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley said. "He had 25 points and five blocks. What rookie can do that?"

Kenny Thomas scored 15 points and Kelvin Cato added 12 and 10 rebounds for Houston, which is 5-4 since a season-high 15-game slide ended December 22.

Voshon Lenard scored 20 points and James Posey added 19 and 16 rebounds as Denver lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

Nick Van Exel was held to four points on 2-of-14 shooting, his worst performance in a game he has not left with injury, although he was ill.

"It was my stomach," he said. "I started feeling bad this morning. I don't know what it was but I didn't think about not playing."

"Nick was sick tonight but he played with it," Evans said. "He did miss the shootaround but you always want your best players to play."

Lenard scored nine points in the third quarter as Denver pulled within 75-63 heading into the final period.

Raef LaFrentz opened with a three-point play to spark a 7-2 run and Avery Johnson's jumper made it 77-70 with 9:44 left.

Denver trailed, 79-72, after Posey's dunk one minute later, but Moochie Norris answered with a jumper to spark an 8-2 spurt. Steve Francis converted a three-point play and Griffin nailed his final 3-pointer to give the Rockets an 87-74 cushion with 6:20 to play.

Francis finished with 14 points and seven assists and Mobley scored 13 points for Houston, which shot 49 percent (37-of-75) and made 8-of-14 3-pointers.

Denver shot only 41 percent (33-of-80) and made 3-of-14 from the arc.

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