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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 18 23 16 24 81 UTAH 12 26 36 22 96 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 26, MATT BULLARD 11, HAKEEM OLAJUWON 8 UTH - KARL MALONE 26, DONYELL MARSHALL 19, JOHN STOCKTON 13

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - KENNY THOMAS 8, STEVE FRANCIS 7 UTH - DONYELL MARSHALL 10, KARL MALONE 8

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - MOOCHIE NORRIS 6, STEVE FRANCIS 3 UTH - KARL MALONE 7, JOHN STOCKTON 7

ATT: 19,911


Extended Box

HOUSTON (81) AT UTAH (96)

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

ANDERSON F 18 1-6 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 1 2 2 THOMAS F 29 2-5 1-1 2 6 8 0 4 1 1 5 OLAJUWON C 21 3-8 2-2 1 2 3 1 1 1 0 8 FRANCIS G 38 10-16 4-8 1 6 7 3 4 1 5 26 MOBLEY G 35 2-11 2-3 0 1 1 1 2 0 2 6 CATO 22 2-4 2-4 2 4 6 2 2 1 1 6 LANGHI 20 2-6 0-2 2 3 5 1 2 1 1 4 BULLARD 30 4-11 0-1 0 2 2 0 2 1 0 11 NORRIS 17 1-2 4-4 1 1 2 6 3 0 1 6 ROGERS 5 1-3 0-0 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 2 S COLSON 5 2-4 1-2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 WILLIAMS DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE

TOTALS 240 30-76 16-27 11 25 36 14 27 7 14 81 (.395) (.593) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 15(13 PTS)

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

MALONE F 33 8-16 10-11 1 7 8 7 3 0 1 26 MARSHALL F 32 6-9 7-8 2 8 10 3 2 3 3 19 POLYNICE C 31 1-5 0-0 4 0 4 0 3 0 1 2 RUSSELL G 35 4-10 2-2 0 6 6 3 3 0 0 10 STOCKTON G 26 5-10 2-3 1 3 4 7 1 0 1 13 VAUGHN 23 1-4 1-1 0 3 3 2 3 3 2 3 STARKS 19 1-6 1-2 2 2 4 1 4 0 2 3 MANNING 12 5-8 1-1 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 11 OSTERTAG 13 1-2 0-0 2 1 3 0 2 1 0 2 CROTTY 7 0-2 1-2 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 D BENOIT 6 1-2 2-2 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 4 PADGETT 3 1-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 2

TOTALS 240 34-75 27-32 15 31 46 23 24 8 13 96 (.453) (.844) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 13(14 PTS)

HOUSTON 18 23 16 24 - 81 UTAH 12 26 36 22 - 96

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - THOMAS. UTAH - MARSHALL 3, POLYNICE 3, MALONE, STOCKTON. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 5-16 (.313), ANDERSON 0-2, FRANCIS 2-5, MOBLEY 0-2, BULLARD 3-6, S COLSON 0-1. UTAH 1-7 (.143), POLYNICE 0-1, RUSSELL 0-3, STOCKTON 1-2, VAUGHN 0-1. TECHNICALS: HOUSTON - FRANCIS, THOMAS, UTAH - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: JOE DEROSA, DAVID JONES, COURTNEY KIRKLAND. A - 19,911. T - 14:47.


Box Score

HOUSTON (81) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Anderson 18 1-6 0-0 1-1 0 4 2 Thomas 29 2-5 1-1 2-8 0 4 5 Olajuwon 21 3-8 2-2 1-3 1 1 8 Francis 38 10-16 4-8 1-7 3 4 26 Mobley 35 2-11 2-3 0-1 1 2 6 Cato 22 2-4 2-4 2-6 2 2 6 Langhi 20 2-6 0-2 2-5 1 2 4 Bullard 30 4-11 0-1 0-2 0 2 11 Norris 17 1-2 4-4 1-2 6 3 6 Rogers 5 1-3 0-0 1-1 0 2 2 S Colson 5 2-4 1-2 0-0 0 1 5 Williams DNP - sprained left ankle _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 30-76 16-27 11-36 14 27 81 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.395, FT-.593. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Anderson 0-2, Francis 2-5, Mobley 0-2, Bullard 3-6, S Colson 0-1). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 1 (Thomas). Turnovers: 15 (Francis 5, Anderson 2, Mobley 2, Cato, Langhi, Norris, Rogers, Thomas). Steals: 7 (Anderson, Bullard, Cato, Francis, Langhi, Olajuwon, Thomas).

UTAH (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Malone 33 8-16 10-11 1-8 7 3 26 Marshall 32 6-9 7-8 2-10 3 2 19 Polynice 31 1-5 0-0 4-4 0 3 2 Russell 35 4-10 2-2 0-6 3 3 10 Stockton 26 5-10 2-3 1-4 7 1 13 Vaughn 23 1-4 1-1 0-3 2 3 3 Starks 19 1-6 1-2 2-4 1 4 3 Manning 12 5-8 1-1 0-0 0 2 11 Ostertag 13 1-2 0-0 2-3 0 2 2 Crotty 7 0-2 1-2 1-1 0 0 1 D Benoit 6 1-2 2-2 1-2 0 1 4 Padgett 3 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 34-75 27-32 15-46 23 24 96 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.453, FT-.844. 3-Point Goals: 1-7, .143 (Polynice 0-1, Russell 0-3, Stockton 1-2, Vaughn 0-1). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 8 (Marshall 3, Polynice 3, Malone, Stockton). Turnovers: 13 (Marshall 3, Starks 2, Vaughn 2, Crotty, Malone, Manning, Padgett, Polynice, Stockton). Steals: 8 (Marshall 3, Vaughn 3, Manning, Ostertag). ____________________________________________ Houston 18 23 16 24 - 81 Utah 12 26 36 22 - 96 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Houston 2 (Francis, 4:52 3rd; Thomas, 2:33 3rd). Utah 1 (Illegal Defense, 1:31 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 19,911. T: 14:47. Officials: Joe Derosa, David Jones, Courtney Kirkland.


Game Story

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- After a lackluster first half, the Utah Jazz turned it on and continued their home mastery of the Houston Rockets.

Karl Malone scored 13 of 26 points in the third quarter as the Utah Jazz used a big third quarter to post its ninth straight home victory over the Houston Rockets, 96-81.

The victory kept Utah's faint hopes alive for the Midwest Division title. It trails San Antonio by four games with five games left but holds a 1 1/2 game lead over Dallas for the fourth seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.

"I don't try to peak at playoff time," Malone said. "I try to stay consistent all through the year. I went through a period of about five games where I wasn't feeling all that great, but when I got better, I think my numbers started to get better."

Houston is now one loss or one victory by the Minnesota Timberwolves from being eliminated from playoff contention.

Utah trailed 18-12 after the first quarter but rallied to forge a 22-22 tie on a basket by Malone midway through the second quarter. A basket by the Rockets' Hakeem Olajuwon gave Houston a 41-38 halftime edge.

"In the first half, they had 13 on second-chance points and we didn't have any," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "It is hard to get them when you are taking tough shots from the outside."

Malone had five points as Utah opened the second half with seven straight points for a 45-41 lead with 10 1/2 minutes left in the third. Another 9-2 run, aided by a critical technical foul by Houston's Steve Francis, gave the Jazz a 65-52 advantage with 3:36 to play.

A basket by Danny Manning with six seconds to go left Utah ahead, 74-57, heading into the fourth. The Jazz led by as many as 20 points in the final period but took little satisfaction from the victory.

"We're still kind of down a little bit, because it was a 41-38 at the half, for them, on our court," Utah center Olden Polynice said. "Jerry just let us know we've got to pick it up a little bit and I thought we did a really nice job. We are a much better team when we try to go inside than when we try to get it done from the outside."

Donyell Marshall scored 19 points and John Stockton added 13 for Utah, which snapped a two-game skid at home. Marshall and Stockton each scored seven in the decisive third, in which the Jazz outscored the Rockets, 36-16.

"Who can explain it, we haven't had a loss by 20 points in a quarter in how long?" asked Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich. "I can't remember. It's a learning curve. We had some real nice moments and then we had some setbacks which I almost have to welcome, because you have got to go through it."

Utah made 27-of-32 free throws, including 10-of-11 from Malone. Marshall had 10 rebounds as the Jazz held a 46-36 rebounding edge.

Francis scored 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting while Matt Bullard was the only other player in double figures for Houston with 11 points off the bench. The Rockets were outscored, 44-28, in points in the paint.

"The third quarter was tough for us, they had a lot of extremely overwhelming, extraordinary, enormous, everlasting, at a banquet, extravagant amount of breaks and that really hurt us," Francis said. "We couldn't ever recover from that."

Francis' backcourt mate Cuttino Mobley suffered through a 2-of-11 shooting night and scored just six points. Olajuwon finished with eight points and just three rebounds for Houston, which fell for the sixth time in seven road games.

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