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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 27 21 20 27 95 DENVER 28 14 23 23 88 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - MICHAEL DICKERSON 27, CUTTINO MOBLEY 18, TWO PLAYERS WITH 13 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 35, ANTONIO MCDYESS 16, BRYANT STITH 14

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - HAKEEM OLAJUWON 17, CHARLES BARKLEY 9 DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 20, DANNY FORTSON 18

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - SCOTTIE PIPPEN 8, TWO PLAYERS WITH 6 DEN - CHAUNCEY BILLUPS 9, NICK VAN EXEL 7

ATT: 17,171


Extended Box

HOUSTON (95) AT DENVER (88)

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

BARKLEY F 38 5-19 1-2 4 5 9 6 0 0 6 12 PIPPEN F 35 6-11 0-0 0 6 6 8 3 2 2 13 OLAJUWON C 41 6-14 1-4 4 13 17 3 4 2 2 13 DICKERSON G 45 11-16 0-0 2 4 6 3 1 0 1 27 MOBLEY G 45 7-16 2-2 1 4 5 6 0 0 0 18 CARR 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 HARRINGTON 15 2-5 1-2 0 4 4 0 4 0 0 5 MACK 10 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 PRICE 9 2-5 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 1 1 5 BULLARD DNP - COACH'S DECISION DREW DNP - COACH'S DECISION ROBERTS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-90 5-10 11 39 50 27 16 5 12 95 (.444) (.500) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 12(13 PTS)

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

MCDYESS F 42 7-23 2-6 6 14 20 1 3 0 2 16 STITH F 34 5-14 1-2 0 0 0 1 2 2 1 14 FORTSON C 40 4-11 4-4 6 12 18 0 4 1 1 12 BILLUPS G 41 2-12 1-2 2 1 3 9 1 5 0 5 VAN EXEL G 44 16-24 1-2 0 2 2 7 2 1 2 35 HERRERA 13 2-5 2-4 2 3 5 0 2 0 0 6 TAYLOR 6 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 WASHINGTON 20 0-6 0-2 1 2 3 1 0 2 0 0 ALEXANDER DNP - COACH'S DECISION K MCCARTY DNP - COACH'S DECISION MEYER DNP - COACH'S DECISION E WILLIAMS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-95 11-22 17 35 52 19 14 11 6 88 (.379) (.500) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 6(11 PTS)

HOUSTON 27 21 20 27 - 95 DENVER 28 14 23 23 - 88

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - OLAJUWON 7, HARRINGTON 2, PRICE, PIPPEN. DENVER - WASHINGTON 2, MCDYESS 2, STITH, FORTSON, TAYLOR. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 10-19 (.526), BARKLEY 1-2, PIPPEN 1-2, DICKERSON 5-6, MOBLEY 2-5, MACK 0-1, PRICE 1-3. DENVER 5-21 (.238), MCDYESS 0-1, STITH 3-8, BILLUPS 0-3, VAN EXEL 2-6, WASHINGTON 0-3. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: TERRY DURHAM, DON VADEN, KEVIN FEHR. A - 17,171. T - 2:02.


Box Score

HOUSTON (95) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Barkley 38 5-19 1-2 4-9 6 0 12 Pippen 35 6-11 0-0 0-6 8 3 13 Olajuwon 41 6-14 1-4 4-17 3 4 13 Dickerson 45 11-16 0-0 2-6 3 1 27 Mobley 45 7-16 2-2 1-5 6 0 18 Carr 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Harrington 15 2-5 1-2 0-4 0 4 5 Mack 10 1-4 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 Price 9 2-5 0-0 0-1 1 2 5 Bullard DNP - coach's decision Drew DNP - coach's decision Roberts DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-90 5-10 11-50 27 16 95 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.444, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals: 10-19, .526 (Barkley 1-2, Pippen 1-2, Dickerson 5-6, Mobley 2-5, Mack 0-1, Price 1-3). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 11 (Olajuwon 7, Harrington 2, Price, Pippen). Turnovers: 12 (Barkley 6, Olajuwon 2, Pippen 2, Dickerson, Price). Steals: 5 (Olajuwon 2, Pippen 2, Price).

DENVER (88) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 42 7-23 2-6 6-20 1 3 16 Stith 34 5-14 1-2 0-0 1 2 14 Fortson 40 4-11 4-4 6-18 0 4 12 Billups 41 2-12 1-2 2-3 9 1 5 Van Exel 44 16-24 1-2 0-2 7 2 35 Herrera 13 2-5 2-4 2-5 0 2 6 Taylor 6 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Washington 20 0-6 0-2 1-3 1 0 0 Alexander DNP - coach's decision K Mccarty DNP - coach's decision Meyer DNP - coach's decision E Williams DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-95 11-22 17-52 19 14 88 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.379, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals: 5-21, .238 (Mcdyess 0-1, Stith 3-8, Billups 0-3, Van Exel 2-6, Washington 0-3). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 7 (Washington 2, Mcdyess 2, Stith, Fortson, Taylor). Turnovers: 6 (Mcdyess 2, Van Exel 2, Fortson, Stith). Steals: 11 (Billups 5, Stith 2, Washington 2, Fortson, Van Exel). ____________________________________________ Houston 27 21 20 27 - 95 Denver 28 14 23 23 - 88 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 17,171. T: 2:02. Officials: Terry Durham, Don Vaden, Kevin Fehr.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- Rookie Michael Dickerson scored six of his 27 points during a key run early in the fourth quarter and Charles Barkley helped the Houston Rockets hold off the Denver Nuggets, 95-88.

The Rockets (31-19) put pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers, who needed to beat Portland to earn the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. But the Lakers routed Portland and will have the home-court edge in their series against the Rockets.

Dickerson's layup with 11:35 remaining began a 13-5 spurt, which Hakeem Olajuwon capped by making the first of two free throws at the 7:48 mark, giving the Rockets an 81-70 advantage.

"I'm not going to try to do anything out of my ability," said Dickerson, who scored a season-high 31 points Tuesday against Minnesota. "If my shot comes, I'll take it. I feel good about my shot right now. Being the shooting guard in this league is all about confidence."

"We new it would be a tough game," said Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich. Michael Dickerson came out again for us. Charles made a couple of big shots for us at the end."

Denver fought within 88-84 on Nick Van Exel's layup with 1:58 to play, but Barkley scored five straight points on a pair of jumpers and a free throw with 52 seconds left as Houston held on.

"I'm glad the regular season is over. I'm ecstatic," said Barkley. "I think they'll be some upsets in the playoffs. Teams couldn't play their starters in the regular season as much as they will have to in the playoffs. It will be a dogfight."

Van Exel scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter for the Nuggets, who dropped their final seven games to finish at 14-36.

"We tried and gave it our all, but they're a playoff team and they know how to play at the end and they did," said Van Exel. "I'm looking forward to a lot of things, a full camp and a full season."

During the 1997-98 campaign, Denver went 11-71 -- matching the second-worst record in NBA history -- and placed 51 games behind the first-place Utah Jazz in the Midwest Division.

"I think the 50-game season helped the players learn each other," said Nuggets first-year coach Mike D'Antoni. "I think we have a good nucleus. I'm really excited about the future of this organization."

Rookie Cuttino Mobley scored 18 points and Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen added 13 points apiece for Houston, which shot 44 percent (40-of-90), including 10-of-19 from beyond the arc. Olajuwon grabbed 17 rebounds as the Rockets built a 39-35 advantage on the boards.

"I hear the playoffs are rougher and tougher, that's what the veterans tell me," Dickerson said. "Barkley, Pippen, and Olajuwon are great people as well as great players. They made Cuttino, Bryce (Drew) and myself comfortable here."

Antonio McDyess had 16 points and 20 rebounds and Danny Fortson added 12 and 18 for the Nuggets, who connected on 38 percent (36-of-95) of their field goals while committing only six turnovers.

Denver had 17 offensive rebounds, but they resulted only seven second-chance points. The Nuggets also allowed the Rockets to score 48 points in the paint.

A crowd of 17,171 watched the final game at McNichols Arena for the Nuggets, who along with the NHL's Avalanche will move into the new Pepsi Center next season.

"It was important to try and get a win tonight, because it was a packed house and the last game at McNichols and last memory," said McDyess. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out. It's been a tough season, but next year we will have more time and practice together."

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