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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 24 24 22 23 93 HOUSTON 28 30 19 22 99 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 25, RAEF LAFRENTZ 18, AVERY JOHNSON 18 HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 22, CUTTINO MOBLEY 17, KENNY THOMAS 14

HIGH REBOUND: DEN - RAEF LAFRENTZ 14, FOUR PLAYERS WITH 4 HOU - KEVIN WILLIS 11, STEVE FRANCIS 10

HIGH ASSISTS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 7, AVERY JOHNSON 5 HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 8, KENNY THOMAS 3

ATT: 9,671


Extended Box

DENVER (93) AT HOUSTON (99)

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

ABDUL-WAHAD F 15 3-7 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 6 WILLIAMS F 19 4-8 0-1 0 1 1 0 4 1 0 8 LAFRENTZ C 40 8-13 0-1 4 10 14 1 3 0 2 18 POSEY G 29 1-4 0-0 1 3 4 3 4 0 1 2 VAN EXEL G 44 10-22 5-5 2 2 4 7 3 1 4 25 G MCCLOUD 26 2-6 2-2 0 3 3 1 2 1 2 6 LENARD 8 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 JOHNSON 22 8-10 2-3 0 0 0 5 4 1 1 18 BOWEN 11 0-1 0-0 4 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 RIDER 26 4-12 0-0 1 3 4 2 1 0 2 8 SCOTT DNP - COACH'S DECISION HAMILTON DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 41-85 9-12 12 23 35 21 22 5 12 93 (.482) (.750) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 12(16 PTS)

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

RICE F 28 2-7 3-4 0 1 1 0 2 0 3 9 THOMAS F 27 7-11 0-0 3 4 7 3 1 1 1 14 CATO C 14 3-4 1-2 2 4 6 1 2 0 0 7 FRANCIS G 44 9-19 2-4 3 7 10 8 4 1 4 22 MOBLEY G 47 7-18 3-3 1 5 6 1 1 1 1 17 W WILLIAMS 18 2-4 1-2 1 1 2 0 1 0 1 7 K WILLIS 21 5-11 2-2 5 6 11 0 1 0 0 12 NORRIS 24 2-5 5-6 0 1 1 2 2 2 1 9 TORRES 17 1-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 1 2 2 BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION GRIFFIN DNP - COACH'S DECISION MORRIS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 38-83 17-23 15 31 46 16 14 6 13 99 (.458) (.739) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 14(21 PTS)

DENVER 24 24 22 23 - 93 HOUSTON 28 30 19 22 - 99

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - WILLIAMS 2, LAFRENTZ 2. HOUSTON - MOBLEY 3, K WILLIS 2. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 2-12 (.167), LAFRENTZ 2-2, POSEY 0-1, VAN EXEL 0-6, G MCCLOUD 0-1, RIDER 0-2. HOUSTON 6-21 (.286), RICE 2-5, FRANCIS 2-5, MOBLEY 0-6, W WILLIAMS 2-3, TORRES 0-2. TECHNICALS: DENVER - DEFENSIVE THREE, HOUSTON - DEFENSIVE THREE 2. OFFICIALS: DERRICK STAFFORD, LEROY RICHARDSON, PAT FRAHER. A - 9,671. T - 2:06.


Box Score

DENVER (93) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Abdul-wahad 15 3-7 0-0 0-1 1 1 6 Williams 19 4-8 0-1 0-1 0 4 8 Lafrentz 40 8-13 0-1 4-14 1 3 18 Posey 29 1-4 0-0 1-4 3 4 2 Van Exel 44 10-22 5-5 2-4 7 3 25 G Mccloud 26 2-6 2-2 0-3 1 2 6 Lenard 8 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 Johnson 22 8-10 2-3 0-0 5 4 18 Bowen 11 0-1 0-0 4-4 0 0 0 Rider 26 4-12 0-0 1-4 2 1 8 Scott DNP - coach's decision Hamilton DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 41-85 9-12 12-35 21 22 93 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.482, FT-.750. 3-Point Goals: 2-12, .167 (Lafrentz 2-2, Posey 0-1, Van Exel 0-6, G Mccloud 0-1, Rider 0-2). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 4 (Williams 2, Lafrentz 2). Turnovers: 12 (Van Exel 4, G Mccloud 2, Lafrentz 2, Rider 2, Johnson, Posey). Steals: 5 (Abdul-wahad, G Mccloud, Johnson, Van Exel, Williams).

HOUSTON (99) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Rice 28 2-7 3-4 0-1 0 2 9 Thomas 27 7-11 0-0 3-7 3 1 14 Cato 14 3-4 1-2 2-6 1 2 7 Francis 44 9-19 2-4 3-10 8 4 22 Mobley 47 7-18 3-3 1-6 1 1 17 W Williams 18 2-4 1-2 1-2 0 1 7 K Willis 21 5-11 2-2 5-11 0 1 12 Norris 24 2-5 5-6 0-1 2 2 9 Torres 17 1-4 0-0 0-2 1 0 2 Brown DNP - coach's decision Griffin DNP - coach's decision Morris DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-83 17-23 15-46 16 14 99 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.458, FT-.739. 3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Rice 2-5, Francis 2-5, Mobley 0-6, W Williams 2-3, Torres 0-2). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 5 (Mobley 3, K Willis 2). Turnovers: 14 (Francis 4, Rice 3, Torres 2, Mobley, Norris, Thomas, W Williams). Steals: 6 (Norris 2, Francis, Mobley, Thomas, Torres). ____________________________________________ Denver 24 24 22 23 - 93 Houston 28 30 19 22 - 99 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Denver 1 (Defensive Three, 3:47 1st). Houston 2 (Defensive Three 2, 8:57 2nd, 4:15 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 9,671. T: 2:06. Officials: Derrick Stafford, Leroy Richardson, Pat Fraher.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Steve Francis scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets rallied for a 99-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Houston led throughout the first three quarters, but Denver scored the first nine points of the fourth for its only lead at 79-77 with 9:14 remaining. Avery Johnson started the run with a layup and Scott Williams capped it with a turnaround jumper.

"We played well for that stretch," Nuggets coach Dan Issel said. "But when you're that far behind, you have to play almost perfectly to get the victory."

The Rockets used a 16-4 run to take command, sparked by Francis. Oscar Torres triggered the run with a layup and Francis scored six points, including a 3-pointer that made it 93-83 with 3:14 to go.

"Steve just made the plays," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "When he gets in his rhythm, it is just like shooting practice."

Francis also had 10 rebounds and eight assists while backcourt partner Cuttino Mobley added 17 points. Kevin Willis finished with 12 points for the Rockets, whose 4-1 start is their best since the 1998-99 season.

"When you miss shots, you have to do other things like rebound and pass the ball," Francis said. "I just wanted to stay aggressive and keep going to the basket. I figured I'd either get the calls or pass the ball off."

Houston held a 28-24 lead after the first quarter before opening the second with a 12-2 run, including a pair of 3-pointers by Walt Williams, for a 40-26 bulge with 9:25 to go. The Rockets settled for a 58-48 halftime lead.

Denver cut into the deficit with a 16-5 run in the third quarter, featuring seven points from Raef Lafrentz.

"Nothing against the Nuggets, but a better team would have beaten us tonight," Mobley said. "We were just lackadaisical tonight and we can't do that."

The game's signature moment was provided by Francis during the Rockets' decisive run. He took a feed from Moochie Norris and elevated for a dunk, but Denver's James Posey fouled him. Francis, Norris and Mobley all bumped chests after the play.

Nick Van Exel scored 25 points and Lafrentz added 18 and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets. Avery Johnson contributed 18 points and five assists in 22 minutes off the bench.

"I don't think we ran out of gas," Van Exel said. "We just missed shots. We had good looks at the basket and they didn't go in. They got some key offensive rebounds and made some big shots."

The Nuggets made 2-of-17 shots from beyond the arc and were outrebounded, 46-35.

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