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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     HOUSTON          27   22   22   16    87   
     PHOENIX          25   20   23   20    88      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 16, MAURICE TAYLOR 14, 
                      KENNY THOMAS 14
                PHO - SHAWN MARION 27, STEPHON MARBURY 20, 
                      PENNY HARDAWAY 14

HIGH REBOUND:   HOU - FOUR PLAYERS WITH 6
                PHO - PENNY HARDAWAY 8, TOM GUGLIOTTA 8, SHAWN
                      MARION 7

HIGH ASSISTS:   HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 5, KENNY THOMAS 5, CUTTINO
                      MOBLEY 4
                PHO - STEPHON MARBURY 11, PENNY HARDAWAY 10, 
                      SHAWN MARION 4

         ATT:   16,284

Box Score

HOUSTON (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp E Griffin 30 3-7 0-0 0-4 0 0 8 K Thomas 41 5-15 4-4 3-6 5 3 14 J Collier 6 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 1 2 S Francis 39 5-18 5-7 3-6 5 5 16 C Mobley 39 5-9 0-2 2-6 4 0 13 G Rice 29 4-7 0-0 1-6 1 1 10 M Taylor 18 7-13 0-0 0-2 1 2 14 J Hawkins 11 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 3 0 Y Ming 14 5-6 0-0 1-2 0 3 10 M Norris 13 0-1 0-0 0-1 2 1 0 K Cato DNP - PERSONAL REASONS B Nachbar DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-79 9-13 11-36 18 19 87 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.443, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals: 8-14, .571 (E Griffin 2-4, S Francis 1-2, C Mobley 3-5, G Rice 2-3). Team Rebounds: 15. Blocked Shots:3 (S Francis, J Hawkins, Y Ming). Turnovers:16 (C Mobley 4, S Francis 3, K Thomas 3, M Norris 2, J Hawkins 2, M Taylor, E Griffin). Steals: 8 (S Francis 4, M Norris 2, J Hawkins, Y Ming). PHOENIX (88) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp S Marion 41 12-22 3-3 2-7 4 2 27 T Gugliotta 28 3-3 0-0 0-8 0 2 6 J Tsakalidis 21 4-6 3-4 3-5 1 0 11 S Marbury 40 6-16 8-8 0-0 11 0 20 P Hardaway 42 7-18 0-0 3-8 10 1 14 A Stoudemire 20 1-4 3-5 0-1 0 4 5 B Outlaw 12 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 J Johnson 4 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 C Jacobsen 12 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 1 2 D Langhi 14 1-3 1-2 0-2 0 1 3 S Williams 6 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 1 0 R Brown DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-77 18-22 10-37 26 12 88 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.818. 3-Point Goals: 0-11, .000 (S Marion 0-3, S Marbury 0-4, P Hardaway 0-2, J Johnson 0-1, C Jacobsen 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:7 (S Marion 2, A Stoudemire 2, S Williams, J Johnson, S Marbury). Turnovers:11 (S Marbury 5, P Hardaway 3, T Gugliotta, S Marion, A Stoudemire). Steals: 8 (S Marbury 2, S Marion 2, P Hardaway, C Jacobsen, S Williams, T Gugliotta). ------------------------------------------- HOUSTON 27 22 22 16 - 87 PHOENIX 25 20 23 20 - 88 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Houston - 1 (Defensive Three, 9:01 2nd). Phoenix - 1 (Defensive Three, 10:59 2nd). Flagrant fouls: Phoenix 1 (D Langhi, 1:26 2nd). A: 16,284. T: 2:17. Officials: Anthony Jordan, Monty McCutchen, Ron Garretson.


Extended Box

HOUSTON (87) AT PHOENIX (88) HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === E GRIFFIN F 30 3-7 0-0 0 4 4 0 0 0 1 8 K THOMAS F 41 5-15 4-4 3 3 6 5 3 0 3 14 J COLLIER C 6 1-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 2 S FRANCIS G 39 5-18 5-7 3 3 6 5 5 4 3 16 C MOBLEY G 39 5-9 0-2 2 4 6 4 0 0 4 13 G RICE 29 4-7 0-0 1 5 6 1 1 0 0 10 M TAYLOR 18 7-13 0-0 0 2 2 1 2 0 1 14 J HAWKINS 11 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 1 2 0 Y MING 14 5-6 0-0 1 1 2 0 3 1 0 10 M NORRIS 13 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 2 2 0 K CATO DNP - PERSONAL REASONS B NACHBAR DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 35-79 9-13 11 25 36 18 19 8 16 87 (.443) (.692) TEAM REBS: 15 TOTAL TO: 18 (16 PTS) PHOENIX REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === S MARION F 41 12-22 3-3 2 5 7 4 2 2 1 27 T GUGLIOTTA F 28 3-3 0-0 0 8 8 0 2 1 1 6 J TSAKALIDIS C 21 4-6 3-4 3 2 5 1 0 0 0 11 S MARBURY G 40 6-16 8-8 0 0 0 11 0 2 5 20 P HARDAWAY G 42 7-18 0-0 3 5 8 10 1 1 3 14 A STOUDEMIRE 20 1-4 3-5 0 1 1 0 4 0 1 5 B OUTLAW 12 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 J JOHNSON 4 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 C JACOBSEN 12 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 0 1 1 0 2 D LANGHI 14 1-3 1-2 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 3 S WILLIAMS 6 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 R BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 35-77 18-22 10 27 37 26 12 8 11 88 (.455) (.818) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 11 (11 PTS) HOUSTON 27 22 22 16 - 87 PHOENIX 25 20 23 20 - 88 BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - S FRANCIS, J HAWKINS, Y MING. PHOENIX - S MARION 2, A STOUDEMIRE 2, S WILLIAMS, J JOHNSON, S MARBURY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 8-14 (.571), E GRIFFIN 2-4, S FRANCIS 1- 2, C MOBLEY 3-5, G RICE 2-3. PHOENIX 0-11 (.000), S MARION 0-3, S MARBURY 0- 4, P HARDAWAY 0-2, J JOHNSON 0-1, C JACOBSEN 0-1. TECHNICAL FOULS: HOUSTON - DEFENSIVE THREE. PHOENIX - DEFENSIVE THREE. FLAGRANT FOULS: PHOENIX 1 (D LANGHI, 1:26 2ND,). OFFICIALS: ANTHONY JORDAN, MONTY MCCUTCHEN, RON GARRETSON. A - 16,284. T - 2:17.


Game Story

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury's driving layup with six seconds left lifted the Phoenix Suns to their fourth straight victory, an 88-87 triumph over the Houston Rockets. Marbury was just 5-of-15 from the field before he lofted a soft runner high off the backboard to erase an 87-86 deficit. "Coach pretty much said, `Go to the basket as hard as you can,'" Marbury said. "In those situations, you have to go to the basket hard." "We had good defense," Rockets guard Steve Francis said. "He threw the ball up and, you know, it went in. That was the type of defense we were playing the whole game. He was fortunate enough to make the big shot." The Rockets had a chance to pull out the win, but Francis' penetration was cut off and Eddie Griffin failed to convert a kick-out pass. "I was trying to go to the bucket," Francis said. "If I couldn't get to the bucket, I was trying to kick it back outside." "(It was the same play as Marbury's), we cleared out a hole and he tried to drive into it," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "They ran a guy in there and he popped it out to the open guy. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't." Both teams had ample chances to pull away, but Marbury's basket was the only one over the final two minutes. "We knew (Francis) was going to get the ball at the end and they knew I was going to get the ball and try to create," Marbury said. "This win, a close one, is very important to us. We needed it for our confidence because we have been winning ugly." "Steph did a heck of a job on Steve Francis tonight," Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "He held him to 5-for-18 from the field and he's been averaging 30 points a game." Shawn Marion scored a season-high 27 points for the Suns, who ended a two-game slide against the Rockets with their third consecutive home win. Francis led Houston with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists but was just 5-of-18 from the field. Maurice Taylor added 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench. Yao Ming, the top overall pick in the 2002 draft, had his best offensive game, making 5-of-6 shots and scoring 10 points in 14 minutes. "I can only play about 15 minutes right now," Ming said through an interpreter. "I need to accumulate more NBA experience." "Yao did a nice job tonight, when we had Amare (Stoudemire) on him, it was a tough matchup for Amare," Johnson said. "He can play and he's going to be pretty good. You always have to stay into him because if you give him any room, he's skilled enough where he can make some shots and do some things." The Rockets led 83-76 after an 18-foot jumper by Taylor with 6:58 to go. The lead was 85-80 following another basket by Taylor with 5:35 remaining. Marbury began the Suns' comeback with two free throws with 4:23 to play and Marbury found Marion for an 18-footer just over a minute later. Francis drained a long jumper with 2:59 to go, but Marion's layup 52 seconds later was the last basket until Marbury's runner. Houston was 8-of-14 from 3-point range while Phoenix missed all 11 of its attempts from beyond the arc. The Rockets also had a 34-10 advantage in bench scoring. Penny Hardaway had 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and is averaging nearly a triple-double over his last four games. The Suns' last four-game winning streak came nearly a year ago from November 26-December 3, 2001. The Rockets were without center Kelvin Cato, who suffered a death in his family. Jason Collier started at center and had two points and two rebounds in six minutes.


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