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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- PHOENIX 35 26 24 35 120 HOUSTON 26 24 20 23 93 FINAL


Box Score

PHOENIX (123) AT HOUSTON (93)

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

MCCLOUD F 31 5-13 0-0 2 2 4 1 2 0 1 12 MCDYESS F 25 5-11 3-5 2 2 4 4 4 1 3 13 ROBINSON C 35 14-21 4-5 2 5 7 0 2 4 0 32 KIDD G 36 13-17 0-0 2 6 8 7 2 4 1 27 NASH G 28 4-9 0-0 0 1 1 12 4 1 4 10 JOHNSON 21 0-2 2-3 0 2 2 5 2 0 2 2 BRYANT 15 3-3 2-2 1 3 4 2 4 1 0 8 SCOTT 24 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 4 1 1 0 2 WILLIAMS 9 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 MILIC 8 4-5 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 8 LLAMAS 8 3-5 0-0 1 1 2 0 5 0 0 7 BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 53-91 11-15 10 25 35 36 28 12 13 123 (.582) (.733) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 13(11 PTS)

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

ELIE F 17 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 2 HARRINGTON F 27 3-7 4-7 1 1 2 1 5 0 2 10 WILLIS C 27 8-12 5-6 5 5 10 1 3 1 3 21 DREXLER G 28 4-15 3-4 3 6 9 4 0 1 2 11 MALONEY G 27 3-5 1-1 0 1 1 3 0 1 4 9 BULLARD 30 5-9 0-0 0 3 3 0 3 4 0 10 RHODES 31 3-15 3-8 1 0 1 2 3 0 4 10 JOHNSON 16 2-6 2-2 0 2 2 1 1 0 2 6 DAVIS 21 3-4 0-0 1 1 2 3 3 0 2 7 JONES 8 1-1 0-0 4 2 6 1 0 0 0 2 STEPHENS 8 2-7 1-2 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 5 OLAJUWON DNP - SORE LEFT KNEE

TOTALS 240 35-84 19-30 17 24 41 16 19 8 20 93 (.417) (.633) TEAM REBS: 17 TOTAL TO: 20(25 PTS)

PHOENIX 35 26 24 38 - 123 HOUSTON 26 24 20 23 - 93

BLOCKED SHOTS: PHOENIX - ROBINSON, BRYANT, SCOTT, WILLIAMS. HOUSTON - HARRINGTON, WILLIS, DREXLER. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: PHOENIX 6-15 (.400), MCCLOUD 2-6, ROBINSON 0-2, KIDD 1-2, NASH 2-4, LLAMAS 1-1. HOUSTON 4-13 (.308), ELIE 0-1, DREXLER 0-4, MALONEY 2-3, BULLARD 0-2, RHODES 1-1, DAVIS 1-1, STEPHENS 0-1. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: BOB DELANEY, TED BERNHARDT, GARY BENSON. A - 15,285. T - 2:10.


Agate Box Score

PHOENIX (123) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mccloud 31 5-13 0-0 2-4 1 2 12 Mcdyess 25 5-11 3-5 2-4 4 4 13 Robinson 35 14-21 4-5 2-7 0 2 32 Kidd 36 13-17 0-0 2-8 7 2 27 Nash 28 4-9 0-0 0-1 12 4 10 Johnson 21 0-2 2-3 0-2 5 2 2 Bryant 15 3-3 2-2 1-4 2 4 8 Scott 24 1-3 0-0 0-1 4 1 2 Williams 9 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 0 2 Milic 8 4-5 0-0 0-1 0 2 8 Llamas 8 3-5 0-0 1-2 0 5 7 Brown DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 53-91 11-15 10-35 36 28 123 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.582, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (Mccloud 2-6, Robinson 0-2, Kidd 1-2, Nash 2-4, Llamas 1-1). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 4 (Robinson, Bryant, Scott, Williams). Turnovers: 13 (Nash 4, Mcdyess 3, Johnson 2, Kidd, Mccloud, Milic, Williams). Steals: 12 (Kidd 4, Robinson 4, Bryant, Mcdyess, Nash, Scott).

HOUSTON (93) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Elie 17 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 Harrington 27 3-7 4-7 1-2 1 5 10 Willis 27 8-12 5-6 5-10 1 3 21 Drexler 28 4-15 3-4 3-9 4 0 11 Maloney 27 3-5 1-1 0-1 3 0 9 Bullard 30 5-9 0-0 0-3 0 3 10 Rhodes 31 3-15 3-8 1-1 2 3 10 Johnson 16 2-6 2-2 0-2 1 1 6 Davis 21 3-4 0-0 1-2 3 3 7 Jones 8 1-1 0-0 4-6 1 0 2 Stephens 8 2-7 1-2 2-4 0 0 5 Olajuwon DNP - sore left knee _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-84 19-30 17-41 16 19 93 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.417, FT-.633. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Elie 0-1, Drexler 0-4, Maloney 2-3, Bullard 0-2, Rhodes 1-1, Davis 1-1, Stephens 0-1). Team rebounds: 17. Blocked shots: 3 (Harrington, Willis, Drexler). Turnovers: 20 (Maloney 4, Rhodes 4, Willis 3, Davis 2, Drexler 2, Harrington 2, Johnson 2, Elie). Steals: 8 (Bullard 4, Drexler, Elie, Maloney, Willis). ____________________________________________ Phoenix 35 26 24 38 - 123 Houston 26 24 20 23 - 93 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 1 (Illegal Defense, 2:16 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 15,285. T: 2:10. Officials: Bob Delaney, Ted Bernhardt, Gary Benson.


Game Recap

Cliff Robinson hit 14-of-21 shots and scored 32 points, helping the Phoenix Suns clinch homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs with their seventh straight road victory, a 123-93 rout of the Houston Rockets.

The 30-point victory margin was Phoenix's largest ever against Houston, surpassing a 119-91 road win on November 9th, 1982. The Suns have beaten the Rcokets in five of their last six meetings.

Phoenix (56-26) earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will meet fifth-seeded San Antonio (55-26) in the first round of the playoffs. The Suns won three of four from the Spurs during the regular season.

"That was obviously a good win for us," Phoenix coach Danny Ainge said. "We needed it more than they did and that's how the game played out. You've got to give hand to Cliff Robinson and Jason Kidd. They were really focused and played well.

"I think having homecourt in the playoffs gives us an edge in a Game 5 situation. The rest of the series it's not that big of a deal, but it does make a difference in a Game Five or a Game Seven scenario."

Jason Kidd added 27 points (on 13-of-17 shooting), eight rebounds and seven assists, Antonio McDyess scored 13 points and Steve Nash had 12 assists for Phoenix, which closed with 11 wins in 12 games for its best season since the 1994-95 campaign, when the Suns went 59-23.

"I've got to keep working on my shooting," Kidd said. "Everybody keeps talking about it, so I have to keep working on it. Tonight I faced up to the challenge. I think that was the best I've shot all season. I also took it to the basket and coach Ainge has talked to me about that. I want to bottle this game up and take it to the playoffs."

"Having the home court gives us a chance to establish the tone and get the San Antonio series going in a positive direction," Robinson said. "If we can win the first two games at home, that puts a lot of pressure on the other team."

Kevin Willis had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Clyde Drexler 11 and nine to lead Houston, which had won four of its previous six games. The Rockets (41-41) failed to post a winning record for the first time since 1989-90, when they also finished .500.

"We have drawn the team with the best record in the NBA in the first round and we have a lot of respect for them," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We have played them numerous times in the playoffs. We've had some tremendous series against them and the team that won those series has ended up in the Finals."

The Rockets, who were without center Hakeem Olajuwon (sore knee) and forward Charles Barkley (strained groin), will be the eighth seed in the West and face Utah in the first round.

"It was a season that was filled with a lot of setbacks for us," Tomjanovich said. ""It's over and now we begin the real crunch time part of the season, the playoffs. As a precautionary deal we had Hakeem not play, and it was a chance to get some guys some minutes.

Houston took its only lead, 14-13, at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter after a layup by Matt Maloney.

The Suns used an 8-0 spurt to go ahead for good, with a 21-foot jumper by Kidd pushing the lead to 21-14 with 5:12 left. Houston battled back to 23-22 after a layup by Willis, but the Suns closed with a 12-4 spurt, capped by a fast-break dunk by Kidd, to surge ahead 35-26. Robinson had 12 points in the opening quarter.

Robinson scored eight more points in the second quarter as the Suns increased the lead to 61-50 at the half. The closest the Rockets got in the second half was 71-60 on a hook by Willis at 7:15 of the third quarter.

Phoenix opened the fourth quarter with a 14-2 burst to put the game out of reach. In that spurt Kidd had five points and Robinson a pair of three-point plays. A three-pointer by Horacio Llamas, his first of the season, just beat the buzzer and accounted for the 30-point margin.

"It didn't feel like the last game because we're looking forward to the playoffs, and since we'll be out there again, it's hard to think of it as your last game," said Drexler, about his last regular-season NBA game. "I've had a long run, 15 years, and today is the end of the regular season. I've been looking forward to it and it's finally here. For the most part my career has been great and I've enjoyed it."

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