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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- BOSTON 34 17 13 25 89 HOUSTON 16 31 24 28 99 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: BOS - PAUL PIERCE 30, ANTOINE WALKER 25, KENNY ANDERSON 12 HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 40, KELVIN CATO 14, KENNY THOMAS 12

HIGH REBOUND: BOS - THREE PLAYERS WITH 5 HOU - KELVIN CATO 11, TWO PLAYERS WITH 9

HIGH ASSISTS: BOS - KENNY ANDERSON 5, TWO PLAYERS WITH 4 HOU - KENNY THOMAS 8, STEVE FRANCIS 8

ATT: 12,096


Extended Box

BOSTON (89) AT HOUSTON (99)

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

PIERCE F 42 10-20 4-4 0 4 4 4 1 5 4 30 WALKER F 42 10-19 2-4 0 5 5 4 2 1 2 25 BATTIE C 28 5-7 0-0 2 3 5 1 5 2 0 10 ANDERSON G 24 6-13 0-0 0 0 0 5 5 0 2 12 DELK G 23 1-4 0-0 0 2 2 3 2 1 1 3 STRICKLAND 33 2-5 0-1 0 5 5 3 4 1 3 5 E WILLIAMS 22 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 0 3 1 3 2 POTAPENKO 20 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 2 2 0 0 ROGERS 6 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 BLOUNT DNP - COACH'S DECISION K BROWN DNP - COACH'S DECISION MCCARTY DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-75 6-9 3 25 28 20 24 13 17 89 (.480) (.667) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 17(20 PTS)

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

MORRIS F 33 4-7 2-2 3 2 5 0 2 0 3 11 THOMAS F 41 5-13 2-4 4 5 9 8 5 2 3 12 CATO C 40 6-7 2-2 5 6 11 0 3 0 1 14 FRANCIS G 38 3-15 5-6 1 8 9 8 2 3 7 11 MOBLEY G 42 13-26 10-10 2 5 7 1 1 3 4 40 BROWN 1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NORRIS 28 1-4 2-3 1 0 1 3 0 0 1 5 LANGHI 9 2-3 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 2 0 4 COLLIER 8 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 2 GRIFFIN DNP - FLU TORRES DNP - COACH'S DECISION K WILLIS DNP - BACK SPASMS

TOTALS 240 35-78 23-27 17 28 45 20 14 11 19 99 (.449) (.852) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 19(22 PTS)

BOSTON 34 17 13 25 - 89 HOUSTON 16 31 24 28 - 99

BLOCKED SHOTS: BOSTON - PIERCE, BATTIE. HOUSTON - CATO 4, MORRIS 2, THOMAS, MOBLEY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: BOSTON 11-22 (.500), PIERCE 6-9, WALKER 3-8, DELK 1-3, STRICKLAND 1-2. HOUSTON 6-18 (.333), MORRIS 1-1, THOMAS 0-1, FRANCIS 0-3, MOBLEY 4-11, NORRIS 1-2. TECHNICALS: BOSTON - DEFENSIVE THREE 3, HOUSTON - MOBLEY. OFFICIALS: TOM WASHINGTON, TED BERNHARDT, LEON WOOD. A - 12,096. T - 2:04.


Box Score

BOSTON (89) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Pierce 42 10-20 4-4 0-4 4 1 30 Walker 42 10-19 2-4 0-5 4 2 25 Battie 28 5-7 0-0 2-5 1 5 10 Anderson 24 6-13 0-0 0-0 5 5 12 Delk 23 1-4 0-0 0-2 3 2 3 Strickland 33 2-5 0-1 0-5 3 4 5 E Williams 22 1-3 0-0 0-3 0 3 2 Potapenko 20 0-2 0-0 1-3 0 2 0 Rogers 6 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 2 Blount DNP - coach's decision K Brown DNP - coach's decision Mccarty DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-75 6-9 3-28 20 24 89 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.480, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 11-22, .500 (Pierce 6-9, Walker 3-8, Delk 1-3, Strickland 1-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 2 (Pierce, Battie). Turnovers: 17 (Pierce 4, E Williams 3, Strickland 3, Anderson 2, Rogers 2, Walker 2, Delk). Steals: 13 (Pierce 5, Battie 2, Potapenko 2, Delk, E Williams, Strickland, Walker).

HOUSTON (99) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Morris 33 4-7 2-2 3-5 0 2 11 Thomas 41 5-13 2-4 4-9 8 5 12 Cato 40 6-7 2-2 5-11 0 3 14 Francis 38 3-15 5-6 1-9 8 2 11 Mobley 42 13-26 10-10 2-7 1 1 40 Brown 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Norris 28 1-4 2-3 1-1 3 0 5 Langhi 9 2-3 0-0 0-2 0 0 4 Collier 8 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 1 2 Griffin DNP - flu Torres DNP - coach's decision K Willis DNP - back spasms _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 35-78 23-27 17-45 20 14 99 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.449, FT-.852. 3-Point Goals: 6-18, .333 (Morris 1-1, Thomas 0-1, Francis 0-3, Mobley 4-11, Norris 1-2). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 8 (Cato 4, Morris 2, Thomas, Mobley). Turnovers: 19 (Francis 7, Mobley 4, Morris 3, Thomas 3, Cato, Norris). Steals: 11 (Francis 3, Mobley 3, Langhi 2, Thomas 2, Collier). ____________________________________________ Boston 34 17 13 25 - 89 Houston 16 31 24 28 - 99 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Boston 3 (Defensive Three 3, 6:08 1st, 9:52 2nd, 5:04 2nd). Houston 1 (Mobley, 4:12 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 12,096. T: 2:04. Officials: Tom Washington, Ted Bernhardt, Leon Wood.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics let another one slip away and will come home from their season-high seven-game road trip with a losing record.

Cuttino Mobley scored 40 points -- one shy of his career high -- as the Houston Rockets roared back from an early 20-point deficit to post an 99-89 victory over the Celtics, who completed a 3-4 trip.

"Our defense was the difference," Mobley said. "After the first quarter, we took it upon ourselves to get the defense right. I wasn't worried about the 20 points because they were taking quick shots and making them. We just had to get out there defensively."

The highlight of Boston's journey was Tuesday's last-second 109-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Celtics squandered double-digit leads in each of their two games in Texas.

On Thursday, Boston suffered a 98-92 setback to the Dallas Mavericks, blowing a 14-point first-half lead and a seven-point advantage entering the final period.

The Celtics appeared to have no problem getting over that defeat and seemed on the verge of blowing out the Rockets, racing to a 29-9 lead just over 10 minutes into the contest.

But Houston erased a 34-16 first-quarter deficit by blitzing Boston, 83-55, over the final 36 minutes. The Rockets closed to 51-47 at the half, took the lead for good in the third quarter and pulled away in the final period.

"It's a very disappointing way to end the trip," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "We had our chances to win in Dallas and here but we just didn't get it done."

Paul Pierce scored 30 points and Antoine Walker added 25 for the Celtics, who suffered their fifth straight loss in Houston. After shooting 68 percent (13-of-19) from the field in the first period, the Celtics were just 23-of-56 over the final three quarters.

"We squandered two opportunities," Pierce said. "We didn't take advantage of the situation in Dallas or Houston. We built a big lead and stopped playing basketball. They executed and outhustled us. When we build a big lead, we can't get complacent."

The Rockets swept the season series from the Celtics for just the second time in franchise history. They also did it during the 1996-97 campaign.

"Our defense was very good against a team that's very difficult to guard," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "When they got the 20-point lead, we didn't quit."

Mobley, who 13-of-26 from the field and 10-of-10 from the line, got plenty of help as all five Houston starters scored in double figures.

Kelvin Cato scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping Houston dominate the boards, 45-28.

Despite being questionable prior to the game with recurring headaches, Steve Francis nearly recorded his second triple-double in as many games against the Celtics. He was just 3-of-15 from the field but finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

"Cuttino and Cato really turned it up after the first quarter," Francis said. "If we get 10 or 12 points from Cato like we did tonight, we're gonna be a tough team to beat."

Francis posted his fourth career triple-double in a 104-101 win in Boston on January 18 with 26 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kenny Thomas scored 12 points while Terence Morris replaced Eddin Griffin in the starting lineup and scored a career-high 11 points. Griffin did not play due to the flu.

"Mobley is a wonderful player and he's a terrific 1-on-1 player," O'Brien said. "He's very difficult to guard when Moochie Norris, Steve Francis and him are all on the floor together. They space you out and they lob it back inside when you try to help guard the guards."

After surviving the early blitz, the Rockets wore down the Celtics. Boston looked fatigued down the stretch and allowed the Rockets 17 offensive rebounds, many of them crucial ones in the fourth quarter.

"Our rebounding has been a problem for the last 20 games or so," O'Brien said. "We're not getting the commitment from the five peopole on the court to rebound the basketball."

"it's tough to swallow," Pierce added. "We got outrebounded by a team with three guards. We've got to do a better job rebounding."

Mobley's ignited the Rockets' comeback with 13 points in the second period, then had seven in a decisive 18-4 spurt in the third quarter.

Morris also had seven points during that run, including a tip-in of Mobley's miss that gave the Rockets their first lead, 60-58, with 3:57 left in the third quarter. After Francis hit two free throws to put Houston ahead, 62-60, Morris made a 16-footer and a 3-pointer to make it 67-60 with 2:14 left in the period.

"We weren't tired or anything," Boston guard Kenny Anderson said. "They just got to every loose ball and their rebounding and second shots killed us."

The Rockets took their biggest lead, 90-78, when Cato dunked off Francis' alley-oop pass with 2:50 to go. Anderson's driving layup pulled the Celtics within 90-83, but Norris drilled a 3-pointer with 38 seconds to put away the contest.

Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers made their debuts for the Celtics but were non-factors. Delk scored three points in 23 minutes and Rogers just two in six minutes off the bench.

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