We were watching the game at a local Austin sports bar for Austin Rocketball III and we held our breath both times it seemed Francis went down to injury. He obviously was fine, putting up 26 points and 8 boards.
Superstar in the making, but Mobley has got to settle down at times and play more intelligently. He got in to some trash talking late with the fans/Denver bench and he started to take each possession personally, rushing bad shots. 19 points and 10 boards can't hide the fact that it wasn't Cuttino's shooting night.
OK, who's covering LaFrentz?
Nuggets forward Raef LaFrentz hit a couldn't-be-more-wide-open-if-he-tried three-pointer with 28 seconds left, breaking a 100-100 tie and giving the Nuggets the 105-100 win over the Rockets in Denver.
The loss drops the Rockets record, at exactly the half way mark of the season, to 20-21.
Steve Francis had a very big night, and in fact, it was Stevie who drove the lane with 44 seconds to go, hitting a tough, running floater that eventually bounced in, tying the game at 100.
LaFrentz wasted no time countering, and when Matt Bullard's three attempt in retaliation was off, the Nuggets had sealed the deal.
Francis finished with 26 points on 9-16 shooting and 8 boards. Also playing very strong was Maurice Taylor, who put up 21 and 7 boards while hitting 10-19 shots. Mo, as usual, scored something like 12 of the Rockets first 13 points.
Unleashing a dazzling array of heaves and chucks in the fourth, including one that hit the side of the backboard, Mobley finished with 19 points and 10 boards -- damn good numbers until you consider he missed 16 of his 23 shots (30% shooting). Sans Mobley, the Rockets shot over 53% from the floor. With him... 47%.
The Rockets did a terrific job on Antonio McDyess (6-19 from the floor, 18 points, 10 boards), but couldn't stop Nick Van Exel, who led all scorers with 30. Of course it helps when you get to the line 15 times... and what the hell was that foul call on a three-attempt they gave to Nick late? Gave him 3 freebies to tie the game at 98 if I recall.
LaFrentz added 18 points and 12 boards while Voshon Lenard scored 15 (3 of which were totally cheap ass... a three at the halftime buzzer that should not have counted since the Rockets were intentionally fouling Van Exel, who dished the assist to Lenard, but did not get the call)