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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     DENVER           26   26   21   30    103  
     HOUSTON          21   21   36   28    106     FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   DEN - MARCUS CAMBY 23, CARMELO ANTHONY 20, 
                      NENE HILARIO 17
                HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 33, CUTTINO MOBLEY 22, 
                      JIMMY JACKSON 17

HIGH REBOUND:   DEN - MARCUS CAMBY 9, CARMELO ANTHONY 8, NENE 
                      HILARIO 7
                HOU - JIMMY JACKSON 7, KELVIN CATO 7, YAO MING
                      6

HIGH ASSISTS:   DEN - JON BARRY 6, EARL BOYKINS 6, TWO PLAYERS
                      WITH 4
                HOU - STEVE FRANCIS 11, JIMMY JACKSON 4, 
                      MAURICE TAYLOR 3

         ATT:   18,148

Box Score

DENVER (103) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp C Anthony 43 5-11 10-12 2-8 3 4 20 Nene 38 8-16 1-2 1-7 1 3 17 M Camby 38 10-11 3-3 2-9 4 5 23 A Miller 35 5-12 4-5 1-2 4 5 14 J Barry 26 2-3 0-0 0-1 6 1 4 R White 22 6-14 0-0 1-4 0 0 13 M Doleac 6 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 2 E Boykins 16 3-6 0-0 0-1 6 1 6 V Lenard 16 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 4 R Bowen DNP - COACH'S DECISION C Andersen DNP - COACH'S DECISION F Elson DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 42-79 18-22 7-34 25 21 103 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.532, FT-.818. 3-Point Goals: 1-5, .200 (C Anthony 0-1, A Miller 0-1, R White 1-2, V Lenard 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots:5 (M Camby 3, V Lenard, C Anthony). Turnovers:9 (M Camby 3, A Miller 2, C Anthony 2, J Barry, R White). Steals: 8 (A Miller 3, M Camby, R White, Nene, C Anthony, E Boykins). HOUSTON (106) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp J Jackson 44 5-10 5-5 2-7 4 3 17 K Cato 24 1-3 5-6 3-7 1 3 7 Y Ming 35 5-14 2-4 2-6 1 4 12 S Francis 43 10-19 11-13 0-3 11 3 33 C Mobley 44 9-17 2-2 0-3 2 1 22 M Taylor 27 5-8 0-0 1-5 3 6 10 C Weatherspoon 5 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 E Piatkowski 6 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 M Jackson 7 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 0 0 S Padgett 3 1-2 2-2 1-1 0 1 5 B Nachbar 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 M Wilks DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-76 27-32 9-37 22 21 106 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.474, FT-.844. 3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (J Jackson 2-5, S Francis 2-4, C Mobley 2-5, E Piatkowski 0-2, S Padgett 1-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Blocked Shots:6 (M Taylor 2, C Mobley 2, B Nachbar, Y Ming). Turnovers:14 (S Francis 4, M Jackson 3, Y Ming 3, M Taylor 2, J Jackson, C Mobley). Steals: 6 (S Francis 4, K Cato, C Mobley). -------------------------------------------- DENVER 26 26 21 30 - 103 HOUSTON 21 21 36 28 - 106 -------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Denver - 1 (J Barry, 12:00 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,148. T: 2:23. Officials: Mike Callahan, Ron Olesiak, Scott Foster.


Extended Box

DENVER (103) AT HOUSTON (106) DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === C ANTHONY F 43 5-11 10-12 2 6 8 3 4 1 2 20 NENE F 38 8-16 1-2 1 6 7 1 3 1 0 17 M CAMBY C 38 10-11 3-3 2 7 9 4 5 1 3 23 A MILLER G 35 5-12 4-5 1 1 2 4 5 3 2 14 J BARRY G 26 2-3 0-0 0 1 1 6 1 0 1 4 R WHITE 22 6-14 0-0 1 3 4 0 0 1 1 13 M DOLEAC 6 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 2 E BOYKINS 16 3-6 0-0 0 1 1 6 1 1 0 6 V LENARD 16 2-4 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 R BOWEN DNP - COACH'S DECISION C ANDERSEN DNP - COACH'S DECISION F ELSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 42-79 18-22 7 27 34 25 21 8 9 103 (.532) (.818) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 12 (19 PTS) HOUSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === J JACKSON F 44 5-10 5-5 2 5 7 4 3 0 1 17 K CATO F 24 1-3 5-6 3 4 7 1 3 1 0 7 Y MING C 35 5-14 2-4 2 4 6 1 4 0 3 12 S FRANCIS G 43 10-19 11-13 0 3 3 11 3 4 4 33 C MOBLEY G 44 9-17 2-2 0 3 3 2 1 1 1 22 M TAYLOR 27 5-8 0-0 1 4 5 3 6 0 2 10 C WEATHERSPOON 5 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 E PIATKOWSKI 6 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 M JACKSON 7 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 3 0 S PADGETT 3 1-2 2-2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 5 B NACHBAR 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 M WILKS DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 36-76 27-32 9 28 37 22 21 6 14 106 (.474) (.844) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 14 (18 PTS) DENVER 26 26 21 30 - 103 HOUSTON 21 21 36 28 - 106 BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - M CAMBY 3, V LENARD, C ANTHONY. HOUSTON - M TAYLOR 2, C MOBLEY 2, B NACHBAR, Y MING. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 1-5 (.200), C ANTHONY 0-1, A MILLER 0-1, R WHITE 1-2, V LENARD 0-1. HOUSTON 7-18 (.389), J JACKSON 2-5, S FRANCIS 2- 4, C MOBLEY 2-5, E PIATKOWSKI 0-2, S PADGETT 1-2. TECHNICAL FOULS: DENVER - J BARRY. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: MIKE CALLAHAN, RON OLESIAK, SCOTT FOSTER. A - 18,148. T - 2:23.


Game Story

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- After a five-year wait, Steve Francis and the Houston Rockets are in the playoffs. The Denver Nuggets are still waiting. Francis had a season-high 33 points and 11 assists as the Rockets survived a pair of late turnovers and held on for a 106-103 victory over the Nuggets that clinched a postseason berth. "Since my rookie year I've always wanted to get into the playoffs," Francis said. "Now we've got to make some noise in the playoffs." The Rockets won consecutive NBA titles in the mid-1990s but had not made the playoffs since 1999, when they were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers. That summer, they traded for Francis, who was taken second overall in the draft by Vancouver. Despite a Rookie of the Year award and three All-Star berths, Francis had been unable to lift the Rockets into the postseason until this year, getting help from emerging star center Yao Ming and defensive-minded coach Jeff Van Gundy. "I don't get caught up in Steve's statistics like many do," Van Gundy said. "I look at a point guard to see if he makes the team function well. Steve's made our team function very well the last two games." "We are there, but like (Van Gundy) said, we don't want to be complacent. We want to move up," Francis said. "I'm just happy we won the game. It was a big game for us, a big game for the city and also for coach." It was Francis' 11th double-double of the season and his second in as many games. "Steve carried us the whole game," Rockets forward Maurice Taylor said. "He had a great game and he took us to the playoffs." "Stevie had a great game," concurred Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley, who scored 22 points. "He stepped up and definitely had his best game of the year." While Houston (44-35) is assured of a playoff spot, Denver (41-38) dropped into a three-way tie with Portland and Utah for the final postseason berth in the Western Conference. The Nuggets have not made the playoffs since 1995. "I'm not too pleased with anything," Nuggets coach Jeff Bdzelik said. "We just had too many defensive breakdowns. Those types of things just hurt you in playoff atmosphere games." Denver returns home to play Portland on Saturday night. Ironically, Houston travels to Salt Lake City to face the Jazz on Saturday night. "It's frustrating, but it's not the end of the world," said Nuggets center Marcus Camby, who had a season-high 23 points. "We play Portland tomorrow night, and that's a big game. We play two of our last three at home, so we need to take care of business." The Rockets opened a 104-99 lead on a 3-pointer by Jim Jackson with 1:02 remaining. Andre Miller, who scored 14 points, made a layup and Nene sank a follow shot around a turnover by Francis, making it a one-point game with 18 seconds to go. Jackson made two free throws and Nene's miss was knocked out of bounds with five seconds to play. But Miller stole Jackson's inbounds pass, and his potential tying 3-pointer banged off the rim as the buzzer sounded. "I got a decent look; the ball got tipped. I think Mobley got a piece of it," Miller said. Denver built a 15-point second-quarter lead and led, 52-42, at halftime. But Houston scored a season-high 36 points in the third quarter to take a 78-73 lead into the fourth period.


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