When you hold Karl Malone to 3-16 shooting and John Stockton to 6 assists, you expect to win.
You don't expect Donyell "Lazy Ass" Marshall to pop off for 20 points and 15 boards and fall at home to an aging, overrated Jazz team.
Alas, Jazz 99, Rockets 97.
The loss drops the Rockets to 16-17, 2-1/2 games back of Minnesota for the 8th spot in the West.
The Rockets seemed to give up in the fourth, seeing a 72-71 lead late in the third turn in to a 14-point deficit with roughly 5 minutes left. That's when Steve Francis and the Rockets awoke. Francis (17 points, 8 boards, 7 assists) nailed two threes and the Rockets came flying back, cutting the lead to 3 with just over a minute to go.
The Jazz gave them plenty of opportunities, but they couldn't capitalize. Matt Bullard airballed a three to tie. Shandon Anderson, who led all scorers with 21 points, missed a wide open three at the top of the key to tie. And the biggest sin of them all: With 10 seconds left, Cuttino Mobley drove down the floor, didn't look at his teammates and with 2 defenders on him threw up a three that shanked hard off the left rim.
Forget Cuttino was 4-16 on the night... he wanted that hero title.
He got the goat title.
Cuttino Mobley (14 points) may be a superstar in the making... and for that matter on a point per minute basis is already up there with the superstars, but he lacks a lot of times the court intelligence that lets hope comes with experience. He forced that three and it cost us a chance at winning the game.
Maurice Taylor was fantasic, scoring 12 points and tearing down 14 rebounds (4 offensive) in just 29 minutes. Problem is he consistently is in foul trouble (5 fouls), so he can't play Ironman minutes. Otherwise, he's shaking off that slow start to the season and is showing he wants to be the Rockets' anchor at the 4 for years to come.
Moochie Norris scored 12 points while Carlos Rogers had 9 and 6 boards.
Bryon Russell scored 17 for the Jazz while John Stockton scored 16. Karl Malone finished with 14, 7 boards and 7 assists. What the hell is wrong with him man .... 3-16? When was the last time he was shut down that badly against us? Like to see it.
Calvin was in some strange digs for tonight's game. Said Jeff Balke, "I've seen Calvin Murphy in some wild pimp suits but tonight was the topper. He looked like a cross between a pimp, a NFL referee and a candystriper. The lines on his jacket were so nasty, it was throwing off the tint on my TV. Calvin, tell your taylor to stop smoking crack immediately!"
The Rockets started with yet another lineup of Francis, Mobley, Anderson, Thomas and Taylor.
There was a long delay to start the game when the scoreboard in the antiquated Laptop went out and then started displaying scores from high school games held there on Friday night.
Both teams struggled after the scoreboard delay turning the ball over 8 times between them in the first 5 minutes of the first quarter.
Mobley struggled with his shot badly mainly because he tried to ISO against Bryon Russell, who played very solid defense agaist the Cat.
Mo Taylor was all over the boards grabbing 6 by early in the second quarter, but his outside shot was not falling at all.
The Rockets led 53-51 at intermission.
The Rockets held Karl Malone to 1-8 shooting in the half. Shandon Anderson meanwhile led all scorers with 11 while Moochie Norris had 10, all in the second quarter. Cuttino had a pair of threes and scored 8.
The Jazz rallied midway through the third and when Bryon Russell hit a three, the Jazz took the lead at 63-61. But Kenny Thomas and Shandon Anderson hit threes around a Stockton layup to make it 67-65 Rockets.
The Rockets led 72-71 before the Jazz finished the third with the final 4 points, taking a 75-72 lead through three.
The Jazz kept it going to start the fourth. They scored the first 5 points of the period to make it 80-72 Jazz before a Carlos Rogers offensive putback ended the 9-0 burst.
Karl Malone nailed two jumpers though, and after Olden Polynice blocked Shandon Anderson and Jacque Vaughn converted it on the other end, the Rockets were forced to call timeout, down 10 points with 8:38 left to go.
After Bryon Russell hit a baseline three, the Jazz led 89-78. Donyell Marshall (no kidding) hit a three and the lead was 14 at 94-80.
When Francis hit a three and Shandon followed that up with a pair of free throws, the Rockets were down 9 at 96-87... but Karl Malone was fouled underneath by Bullard (what is he doing guarding Karl?), he made 1-2 with 3:06 left, and Cuttino was called for an offensive foul on the other end.
Still, when Francis nailed a three with 2:18 left, the Rockets were down 97-90. They forced a Karl Malone miss and Francis was fouled, making a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 5.
Malone missed another jumper and Bullard was foule don the board with 1:38 to go. He made both free throws. 97-94 Jazz.
Donyell Marshall missed in the lane and the Rockets got the ball back, down 3 -- but Bullard airballed a three. The Rockets forced two more Jazz misses (the second by Stockton) and called timeout with 43.5 seconds left.
The Rockets worked it to Shandon, who missed a three from the top of the key. The Rockets got the ball back however... Cuttino got a board with ust over 10 seconds left... dribbled down the court and with two guys on him threw up a three-pointer that shanked left.