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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 1OT TOTAL --- --- --- --- --- ----- HOUSTON 11 24 28 22 13 98 DALLAS 21 30 16 18 10 95 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: HOU - CUTTINO MOBLEY 29, STEVE FRANCIS 20, KENNY THOMAS 11 DAL - MICHAEL FINLEY 25, EDUARDO NAJERA 17, STEVE NASH 16

HIGH REBOUND: HOU - EDDIE GRIFFIN 10, KENNY THOMAS 9, CUTTINO MOBLEY 8 DAL - EDUARDO NAJERA 15, ADRIAN GRIFFIN 8, RAEF LAFRENTZ 8

HIGH ASSISTS: HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 7, MOOCHIE NORRIS 6, CUTTINO MOBLEY 2 DAL - MICHAEL FINLEY 4, STEVE NASH 4, NICK VAN EXEL 3


Extended Box

HOUSTON (98) AT DALLAS (95)

HOUSTON

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

D LANGHI F 17 1-5 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 0 0 2 K THOMAS F 37 5-9 1-3 3 6 9 0 2 0 0 11 K CATO C 19 3-4 1-3 3 3 6 0 0 0 1 7 S FRANCIS G 46 8-21 4-8 2 2 4 7 3 1 4 20 C MOBLEY G 49 12-25 5-5 2 6 8 2 3 2 2 29 T MORRIS 13 3-5 2-2 1 3 4 1 0 1 1 8 E GRIFFIN 33 2-6 3-6 2 8 10 1 1 0 0 9 O TORRES 11 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 M NORRIS 38 3-7 1-1 0 7 7 6 3 4 3 8 T BROWN 2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 W WILLIAMS DNP - COACH'S DECISION K WILLIS DNP - COACH'S DECISION J COLLIER DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 265 39-84 17-28 13 38 51 19 14 8 11 98 (.464) (.607) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 12 (7 PTS)

DALLAS

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

A GRIFFIN F 30 4-10 0-0 4 4 8 3 3 2 0 8 E NAJERA F 42 7-12 3-6 8 7 15 3 4 0 0 17 R LAFRENTZ C 23 2-8 0-0 4 4 8 0 4 0 0 4 M FINLEY G 47 10-28 2-2 3 4 7 4 2 1 4 25 S NASH G 43 5-13 4-5 0 2 2 4 2 0 5 16 W ZHI ZHI 15 4-4 0-0 0 5 5 1 2 2 0 9 N VAN EXEL 34 4-16 2-2 1 3 4 3 1 1 1 10 G BUCKNER 22 2-5 0-0 2 3 5 1 5 0 0 4 A JOHNSON 6 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 E ESCHMEYER 3 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 S BRADLEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION J NEWMAN DNP - COACH'S DECISION D NOWITZKI DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE

TOTALS 265 39-101 11-15 23 32 55 20 24 6 11 95 (.386) (.733) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 11 (10 PTS)

HOUSTON 11 24 28 22 13 - 98 DALLAS 21 30 16 18 10 - 95

BLOCKED SHOTS: HOUSTON - E GRIFFIN 2, K CATO, S FRANCIS, K THOMAS. DALLAS - R LAFRENTZ 4, A GRIFFIN 2, G BUCKNER, W ZHI ZHI. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: HOUSTON 3-14 (.214), S FRANCIS 0-2, C MOBLEY 0- 3, T MORRIS 0-1, E GRIFFIN 2-4, M NORRIS 1-4. DALLAS 6-17 (.353), R LAFRENTZ 0- 1, M FINLEY 3-6, S NASH 2-4, W ZHI ZHI 1-1, N VAN EXEL 0-5. TECHNICAL FOULS: HOUSTON - S FRANCIS, DEFENSIVE THREE, C MOBLEY. FLAGRANT FOULS: HOUSTON 2 (K CATO, 5:18 1ST, S FRANCIS, 4:35 4TH). OFFICIALS: MICHAEL SMITH, RONNIE NUNN, TOMMY NUNEZ. A - 20,098. T - 2:26.


Box Score

HOUSTON (98)

fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp D Langhi 17 1-5 0-0 0-3 1 1 2 K Thomas 37 5-9 1-3 3-9 0 2 11 K Cato 19 3-4 1-3 3-6 0 0 7 S Francis 46 8-21 4-8 2-4 7 3 20 C Mobley 49 12-25 5-5 2-8 2 3 29 T Morris 13 3-5 2-2 1-4 1 0 8 E Griffin 33 2-6 3-6 2-10 1 1 9 O Torres 11 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 M Norris 38 3-7 1-1 0-7 6 3 8 T Brown 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2 W Williams DNP - COACH'S DECISION K Willis DNP - COACH'S DECISION J Collier DNP - COACH'S DECISION

_____________________________________________________ TOTALS 265 39-84 17-28 13-51 19 14 98 _____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.464, FT-.607. 3-Point Goals: 3-14, .214 (S Francis 0-2, C Mobley 0-3, T Morris 0-1, E Griffin 2-4, M Norris 1-4). Team Rebounds: 12. Blocked Shots:5 (E Griffin 2, K Cato, S Francis, K Thomas). Turnovers:11 (S Francis 4, M Norris 3, C Mobley 2, K Cato, T Morris). Steals: 8 (M Norris 4, C Mobley 2, S Francis, T Morris).

DALLAS (95)

fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp A Griffin 30 4-10 0-0 4-8 3 3 8 E Najera 42 7-12 3-6 8-15 3 4 17 R Lafrentz 23 2-8 0-0 4-8 0 4 4 M Finley 47 10-28 2-2 3-7 4 2 25 S Nash 43 5-13 4-5 0-2 4 2 16 W Zhi Zhi 15 4-4 0-0 0-5 1 2 9 N Van Exel 34 4-16 2-2 1-4 3 1 10 G Buckner 22 2-5 0-0 2-5 1 5 4 A Johnson 6 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 E Eschmeyer 3 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 2 S Bradley DNP - COACH'S DECISION J Newman DNP - COACH'S DECISION D Nowitzki DNP - SPRAINED LEFT ANKLE

_____________________________________________________ TOTALS 265 39-10 11-15 23-55 20 24 95 _____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.386, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (R Lafrentz 0-1, M Finley 3-6, S Nash 2-4, W Zhi Zhi 1-1, N Van Exel 0-5). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots:8 (R Lafrentz 4, A Griffin 2, G Buckner, W Zhi Zhi). Turnovers:11 (S Nash 5, M Finley 4, A Johnson, N Van Exel). Steals: 6 (A Griffin 2, W Zhi Zhi 2, M Finley, N Van Exel).

----------------------------------------------- HOUSTON 11 24 28 22 13 - 98 DALLAS 21 30 16 18 10 - 95 -----------------------------------------------

Technical fouls: Houston - 3 (S Francis, 3:04 2nd; Defensive Three, 3:54 2nd; C Mobley, 6:05 4th). Flagrant fouls: Houston 2 (; K Cato, 5:18 1st,S Francis, 4:35 4t). A: 20,098. T: 2:26. Officials: Michael Smith, Ronnie Nunn, Tommy Nunez.


Game Story

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Steve Francis and the Houston Rockets did a Texas-sized favor for the San Antonio Spurs.

Francis scored seven of his 20 points in overtime, including the go-ahead basket, as the Rockets erased a 20-point deficit and defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 98-95, to dump the Mavericks (54-24) into a tie with the Spurs atop the Midwest Division.

The Spurs own the tiebreaker advantage over the Mavericks because they won three of four meetings with Dallas this season. Both teams are 54-24 and San Antonio has the easier remaining schedule.

"We beat two teams (Utah and Portland) we probably didnít have any business beating with the shape that we were in and you let your guard down and a non-playoff team comes in and knocks your socks off," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "It is another nail in our coffin as far as the division goes. We were fighting an uphill battle as far as I am concerned, but we still wanted to stay in the hunt. I thought if we lost the division it certainly wouldnít be tonightís game."

Dallas led 47-27 late in the second quarter and took a 51-35 edge into halftime.

"We've been horrible in the first half about 20 times, maybe more, this year," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We just said read the defenses better, move he ball. We've had some great second halves this season and horrible in the first."

The Rockets trailed 85-82 after Nick Van Exel banked in a jumper with 57 seconds left in regulation, but Francis scored on a layup and free throw to tie the game with 51 seconds left. Neither team scored again in regulation.

Francis scored the first five points in the extra session, and after the Mavericks tied the game at 93-93 on a 3-pointer by Michael Finley with 2:24 left, Francis nailed a jumper with 96 seconds remaining to give the Rockets the lead for good.

Rookie Eddie Griffin gave the Rockets a five-point cushion with a shot from the arc with 46 seconds to go before Van Exel got Dallas within 98-95 on a layup with 41 seconds left.

After stopping the Rockets, the Mavs had a chance to send the game into a second extra session, but Steve Nash and Michael Finley missed open 3-point attempts in the last eight seconds.

"We just wanted to show that we still could play even though we arenít playing for anything, and prove to ourselves that we can play against the top teams in the league," said Griffin, whose team improved to 28-50. "We know they are one of the best teams in the league and we want to be up there with them sooner or later, so we want to play at the same level they are playing at."

Cuttino Mobley scored 29 points to pace the Rockets, including eight in the third quarter and the first seven points of a 10-0 run at the beginning of the fourth that erased a 67-63 deficit.

"I was just being aggressive," Mobley said. "In that situation you've got to turn it up. Those guys are doing what they want to do. They're hitting threes and laughing when they make a mistake. All right, it's cool. It ain't that funny when we come back and run it in your butt. How about that?"

"I don't know anything about any laughing," Van Exel said. "They may have been saying that just to get themselves motivated."

Finley scored 25 points and Eduardo Najera added 17 and 15 rebounds for the Mavs, who were missing All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki to a sprained left ankle.

"Dirkís a great player and we eagerly await his return, but right now the worse thing for him would be to come back too soon and re-hurt his ankle," Mavs center Raef LaFrentz said. "Hopefully, we will get him back as soon as possible. This was a game that we should have won, itís a game we had to win and we didnít. We didnít execute offensively and itís frustrating."

Houston shot 46 percent (39-of-84) and limited Dallas to 39 percent (39-of-101).

"This game was a bit demoralizing," Van Exel said. "They looked like the team that was playing for a Midwest championship. It was a real tough loss. These next two games for us are very important so we have to get ready for them."\x0D\x0A

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