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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     HOUSTON          36   28   20   28    112  
     MINNESOTA        28   37   24   20    109     FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   HOU - YAO MING 27, STEVE FRANCIS 25, CUTTINO 
                      MOBLEY 18
                MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 32, SAM CASSELL 25, THREE 
                      PLAYERS WITH 12

HIGH REBOUND:   HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 6, YAO MING 6, KELVIN CATO
                      5
                MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 18, MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI 7, 
                      MARK MADSEN 4

HIGH ASSISTS:   HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 6, CUTTINO MOBLEY 5, YAO 
                      MING 4
                MIN - SAM CASSELL 13, LATRELL SPREWELL 8, 
                      KEVIN GARNETT 3

         ATT:   20,199

Box Score

HOUSTON (112) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp J Jackson 42 1-7 3-3 0-4 3 3 6 K Cato 18 2-6 2-2 3-5 2 1 6 Y Ming 32 9-16 9-9 2-6 4 2 27 S Francis 44 8-15 5-5 0-6 6 5 25 C Mobley 45 6-15 2-2 0-3 5 2 18 M Taylor 25 7-8 2-2 2-4 2 3 16 C Weatherspoon 20 4-6 3-4 1-3 1 2 11 A Griffin 8 0-1 0-2 0-1 2 1 0 M Jackson 6 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 0 3 E Piatkowski DNP - COACH'S DECISION S Padgett DNP - COACH'S DECISION B Nachbar DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-76 26-29 8-33 26 19 112 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.897. 3-Point Goals: 10-17, .588 (J Jackson 1-3, S Francis 4-5, C Mobley 4-8, M Jackson 1-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots:2 (J Jackson, K Cato). Turnovers:12 (S Francis 5, Y Ming 3, K Cato 2, J Jackson, C Mobley). Steals: 7 (S Francis 3, J Jackson, K Cato, C Mobley, A Griffin). MINNESOTA (109) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp L Sprewell 37 5-15 2-2 0-2 8 1 12 K Garnett 41 13-24 5-7 5-18 3 2 32 M Olowokandi 21 4-6 4-4 2-7 2 5 12 T Hassell 24 2-4 0-0 0-1 2 1 4 S Cassell 39 9-13 5-7 1-1 13 4 25 E Johnson 5 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 W Szczerbiak 19 0-2 2-2 0-1 0 0 2 M Madsen 21 3-3 0-2 0-4 0 3 6 T Hudson 23 5-8 0-2 0-1 2 2 12 G Trent 9 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 4 O Miller 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 F Hoiberg DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 43-78 18-26 8-36 30 21 109 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.551, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (L Sprewell 0-3, K Garnett 1-3, S Cassell 2-3, T Hudson 2-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots:3 (M Olowokandi 2, T Hassell). Turnovers:10 (S Cassell 4, M Olowokandi 2, L Sprewell, W Szczerbiak, K Garnett, T Hudson). Steals: 8 (S Cassell 3, K Garnett 2, L Sprewell, T Hudson, M Madsen). -------------------------------------------- HOUSTON 36 28 20 28 - 112 MINNESOTA 28 37 24 20 - 109 -------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Houston - 3 (S Francis, 2:39 1st; S Francis, 4:08 2nd; Defensive Three, 2:28 3rd). Minnesota - 4 (COACH Saunders, 6:17 1st; T Hudson, 4:08 2nd; Defensive Three, 11:30 3rd; Defensive Three, 9:31 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 20,199. T: 2:22. Officials: Joe Forte, Pat Fraher, Rodney Mott.


Extended Box

HOUSTON (112) AT MINNESOTA (109) HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === J JACKSON F 42 1-7 3-3 0 4 4 3 3 1 1 6 K CATO F 18 2-6 2-2 3 2 5 2 1 1 2 6 Y MING C 32 9-16 9-9 2 4 6 4 2 0 3 27 S FRANCIS G 44 8-15 5-5 0 6 6 6 5 3 5 25 C MOBLEY G 45 6-15 2-2 0 3 3 5 2 1 1 18 M TAYLOR 25 7-8 2-2 2 2 4 2 3 0 0 16 C WEATHERSPOON 20 4-6 3-4 1 2 3 1 2 0 0 11 A GRIFFIN 8 0-1 0-2 0 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 M JACKSON 6 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 E PIATKOWSKI DNP - COACH'S DECISION S PADGETT DNP - COACH'S DECISION B NACHBAR DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 38-76 26-29 8 25 33 26 19 7 12 112 (.500) (.897) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 13 (20 PTS) MINNESOTA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === L SPREWELL F 37 5-15 2-2 0 2 2 8 1 1 1 12 K GARNETT F 41 13-24 5-7 5 13 18 3 2 2 1 32 M OLOWOKANDI C 21 4-6 4-4 2 5 7 2 5 0 2 12 T HASSELL G 24 2-4 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 4 S CASSELL G 39 9-13 5-7 1 0 1 13 4 3 4 25 E JOHNSON 5 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 W SZCZERBIAK 19 0-2 2-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 M MADSEN 21 3-3 0-2 0 4 4 0 3 1 0 6 T HUDSON 23 5-8 0-2 0 1 1 2 2 1 1 12 G TRENT 9 2-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 O MILLER 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 F HOIBERG DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 43-78 18-26 8 28 36 30 21 8 10 109 (.551) (.692) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 11 (12 PTS) HOUSTON 36 28 20 28 - 112 MINNESOTA 28 37 24 20 - 109 BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - J JACKSON, K CATO. MINNESOTA - M OLOWOKANDI 2, T HASSELL. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 10-17 (.588), J JACKSON 1-3, S FRANCIS 4- 5, C MOBLEY 4-8, M JACKSON 1-1. MINNESOTA 5-12 (.417), L SPREWELL 0- 3, K GARNETT 1-3, S CASSELL 2-3, T HUDSON 2-3. TECHNICAL FOULS: HOUSTON - S FRANCIS 2, DEFENSIVE THREE. MINNESOTA - COACH SAUNDERS, T HUDSON, DEFENSIVE THREE 2. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: JOE FORTE, PAT FRAHER, RODNEY MOTT. A - 20,199. T - 2:22.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- A battle between two of the NBA's top defenses became an offensive outburst. Yao Ming and Steve Francis combined for 52 points to lead the Houston Rockets to an impressive 112-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Trailing 96-94, the Rockets went on a 7-0 run highlighted by Francis' dunk and 3-pointer that put them up for good, 101-96, with 5:33 remaining. "We shot the ball incredibly well tonight, especially from 3," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We made some great plays when we needed them. Both teams seemed a little tired after three quarters, but we played better in the fourth and came away with the win." Minnesota narrowed the gap to 108-107, but Clarence Weatherspoon nailed a jumper with 1:37 remaining, and the Timberwolves could draw no closer. "Clarence was butt-naked open at the top," Francis said. "I was looking to go to the basket, but they cut it off and everybody converged on me. I thought the turning point was when he and Mo (Maurice Taylor) came in and gave us a big spark off the bench." Taylor and Weatherspoon combined for 27 points off the bench for Houston. The Rockets were 10-of-17 from the 3-point line. The Timberwolves had two chances to tie in the final seconds. Troy Hudson missed a 3-pointer with four seconds left and Kevin Garnett failed to connect as the buzzer sounded following two missed free throws by Adrian Griffin. "Tough loss," Garnett said. "I think they made five more threes than we did, which was incredible. Yao is playing at a tremendous level right now, Steve had an unbelievable night, but we had our chances." The Rockets lead the league in opponents' field-goal percentage, while Minnesota is third. But both teams shot extremely well. "We're the best field-goal percentage defense in the league and it was tough keeping up with them," Taylor said. "We knew we really had to school becasue they were putting the ball in the basket unconsciously, especially in the first half. Free throws and 3-pointers basically helped us win the game." Yao scored 27 points and Francis added 25 for the Rockets, who shot 50 percent (38-of-76) from the field and made 26-of-28 free throws. "Coach was continually getting on us about our defense," Yao said. "It wasn't until the last three minutes of the game that we were able to pick that up and that was important." Minnesota went without a basket for four minutes in the middle of the fourth quarter despite finishing the game at 55 percent (43-of-78). MVP candidate Garnett collected 32 points and 18 rebounds and Sam Cassell added 25 and 13 assists for Minnesota, which shot 64 percent in the first half but held just a 65-64 lead.


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