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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 20 28 30 24 102 WASHINGTON 20 29 21 19 89 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 31, KENNY THOMAS 21, STEVE FRANCIS 20 WAS - RICHARD HAMILTON 21, CHRIS WHITNEY 19, MICHAEL JORDAN 11

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 9, KELVIN CATO 9 WAS - POPEYE JONES 11, JAHIDI WHITE 8

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - MOOCHIE NORRIS 12, STEVE FRANCIS 4 WAS - MICHAEL JORDAN 11, CHRIS WHITNEY 4

ATT: 20,674


Extended Box

HOUSTON (102) AT WASHINGTON (89)

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

NORRIS F 43 6-15 2-2 0 8 8 12 1 0 1 15 THOMAS F 43 9-15 3-4 2 6 8 2 3 0 1 21 CATO C 30 1-2 2-2 1 8 9 2 3 1 1 4 FRANCIS G 42 8-16 1-3 1 8 9 4 4 0 7 20 MOBLEY G 45 11-17 6-6 2 4 6 3 2 2 1 31 GRIFFIN 20 2-7 0-0 1 3 4 1 0 0 0 5 MORRIS 7 2-3 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 TORRES 10 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION COLLIER DNP - COACH'S DECISION K WILLIS DNP - COACH'S DECISION LANGHI DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-77 14-17 8 37 45 25 15 3 11 102 (.519) (.824) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 12(17 PTS)

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

P JONES F 32 3-8 2-2 7 4 11 1 5 0 1 8 JORDAN F 36 5-12 1-2 1 5 6 11 2 0 2 11 J WHITE C 19 1-3 0-0 2 6 8 1 1 0 0 2 R HAMILTON G 39 8-21 5-6 0 3 3 1 1 0 1 21 C WHITNEY G 35 8-15 2-2 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 19 LAETTNER 9 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 NESBY 26 3-11 0-0 3 2 5 2 1 1 0 6 LUE 9 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 ALEXANDER 14 3-6 3-3 0 0 0 1 3 2 1 9 HAYWOOD 7 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 DAVIS 14 4-7 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 9 THOMAS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 37-88 13-15 14 24 38 23 16 4 5 89 (.420) (.867) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 5(7 PTS)

HOUSTON 20 28 30 24 - 102 WASHINGTON 20 29 21 19 - 89

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - CATO 3, MOBLEY. WASHINGTON - J WHITE 3, HAYWOOD 2, NESBY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 8-15 (.533), NORRIS 1-3, FRANCIS 3-3, MOBLEY 3-5, GRIFFIN 1-2, MORRIS 0-1, TORRES 0-1. WASHINGTON 2-13 (.154), P JONES 0-1, JORDAN 0-1, R HAMILTON 0-2, C WHITNEY 1-5, NESBY 0-1, DAVIS 1-3. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: JOE DEROSA, KEVIN FEHR, BILL SPOONER. A - 20,674. T - 1:57.


Box Score

HOUSTON (102) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Norris 43 6-15 2-2 0-8 12 1 15 Thomas 43 9-15 3-4 2-8 2 3 21 Cato 30 1-2 2-2 1-9 2 3 4 Francis 42 8-16 1-3 1-9 4 4 20 Mobley 45 11-17 6-6 2-6 3 2 31 Griffin 20 2-7 0-0 1-4 1 0 5 Morris 7 2-3 0-0 0-0 1 0 4 Torres 10 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 2 2 Brown DNP - coach's decision Collier DNP - coach's decision K Willis DNP - coach's decision Langhi DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-77 14-17 8-45 25 15 102 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.519, FT-.824. 3-Point Goals: 8-15, .533 (Norris 1-3, Francis 3-3, Mobley 3-5, Griffin 1-2, Morris 0-1, Torres 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Cato 3, Mobley). Turnovers: 12 (Francis 7, Cato, Mobley, Norris, Thomas). Steals: 3 (Mobley 2, Cato).

WASHINGTON (89) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp P Jones 32 3-8 2-2 7-11 1 5 8 Jordan 36 5-12 1-2 1-6 11 2 11 J White 19 1-3 0-0 2-8 1 1 2 R Hamilton 39 8-21 5-6 0-3 1 1 21 C Whitney 35 8-15 2-2 0-0 4 1 19 Laettner 9 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 0 2 Nesby 26 3-11 0-0 3-5 2 1 6 Lue 9 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 Alexander 14 3-6 3-3 0-0 1 3 9 Haywood 7 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 Davis 14 4-7 0-0 0-1 1 1 9 Thomas DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-88 13-15 14-38 23 16 89 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.420, FT-.867. 3-Point Goals: 2-13, .154 (P Jones 0-1, Jordan 0-1, R Hamilton 0-2, C Whitney 1-5, Nesby 0-1, Davis 1-3). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 6 (J White 3, Haywood 2, Nesby). Turnovers: 5 (Jordan 2, Alexander, P Jones, R Hamilton). Steals: 4 (Alexander 2, Davis, Nesby). ____________________________________________ Houston 20 28 30 24 - 102 Washington 20 29 21 19 - 89 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 20,674. T: 1:57. Officials: Joe Derosa, Kevin Fehr, Bill Spooner.


Game Story

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Steve Francis had an enjoyable weekend in and around the nation's capital, but Presidents Day was anything but a holiday for Michael Jordan.

Francis scored 20 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers to close the third quarter, and Cuttino Mobley poured in 31 to give the Houston Rockets a 102-89 victory over an ailing Jordan and the Washington Wizards.

A former star at the University of Maryland, Francis became the the 12th player in school history to have his number (23) honored prior to the Terrapins' win Sunday over then top-ranked Duke at College Park.

"The Maryland game was more exciting than anything," Francis said. "Watching those guys go up and down the court playing against their arch-rivals, I thought that everybody played their hardest yesterday. To me, that was the most rewarding thing of the weekend for me."

A day later, Francis sparked the Rockets with a pair of 3-pointers in the final 42 seconds of the third quarter to spark a 22-8 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. Francis, who was questionable prior to the game with a migraine headache, scored 16 of his points in the second half and made all three of his 3-point attempts.

Jordan had 11 points and a season-high 11 assists for the Wizards, who lost for just the third time in nine games.

One day after his 39th birthday, Jordan tried to play through a bone bruise in his knee, but rarely was a factor outside of the second quarter, when he scored six points.

Coach Doug Collins has encouraged Jordan to take a game off, and there is a good chance he will skip Wednesday's game at Detroit before returning Thursday against New Jersey.

"The competitive nature is sometimes to gut it out, but if you're looking at the long haul, you have to kind of use your head a little bit," Jordan said. "It's a chance for the team to go out and live out on their own a little bit -- without the father."

Jordan has not practiced in two days.

"His knees have been sore. That's a big concern for me," Collins said. "You could see that he wasn't looking for his offense as much as he was looking to pass the basketball. When it's tough for him, it's tough for us."

Richard Hamilton scored 21 points and Chris Whitney 19 for Washington, which could miss Jordan for even more than one game.

"I talked to Michael. It might be that he doesn't play all five games. It might be that we have to rest him a game," Collins said. "We've got 30 games left to play, and we can't let this little stretch ruin our season. I'm going to encourage him not to play Wednesday night."

Moochie Norris added 15 points and 12 assists and Kenny Thomas 21 points for the Rockets, who avoided being swept in a season series by Washington for the first time in 17 years.

Encouraging his team to go inside, Rudy Tomjanovich earned his 450th career victory on the 10th anniversary of his hiring as Houston coach.

"If we don't get our penetration, then we have to rely on the outside shot," Tomjanovich said. "I thought that was the right strategy. We came up with some big shots."

Jumpers by Jordan and Courtney Alexander helped the Wizards take a 43-32 with 4:27 left in the second period. But the Rockets began working their way back behind Norris, who sank a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer in the final minute of the first half to give the Rockets a 48-47 lead with 29 seconds left.

Popeye Jones sank two free throws to give Washington a 49-48 halftime edge.

Whitney's jumper gave Washington a 62-58 advantage before Thomas started the pivotal third-quarter spurt with a pair of jumpers around two free throws by Hamilton.

Mobley converted a 3-pointer before Francis scored on a fast break layup and drew a foul on Jordan for a three-point play for a 68-64 lead with 3:51 left.

"Our team played better than their team did (Monday)," Francis said. "Even though I scored a lot of points in the second half, our coach was disappointed I wasn't taking my first shot, my open looks."

Jordan admitted to being tentative in approaching Francis.

"I didn't know how much my knee would bother me, but it didn't bother me," Jordan said. "I got into that passive mode, and get everyone involved. But, I couldn't get out of it."

Mobley carried the run into the fourth quarter with an 18-foot jumper. The Wizards never were closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.

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