Sorry Mooch, the "Mooch Fro 3" shot, as it's being dubbed in the BBS, was truly king, but Mo stepped up to the plate with a big game on a night Francis and Mobley shot a combined 38.7%. 22 points and 9 boards... damn fine work Mo.
Great game (20 points, 5 boards, 4 assists), but the piss-poor Jack Pardee-esque clock management skills Mobley demonstrated in the waning seconds is inexcusable... and it's not the first time from Cuttino. Moochie saved his jack-happy ass big time.
OK, scratch the intro. Never mind the Rockets played well up until the fourth quarter and nearly handed over a sure win...
What a shot by Mooch!
Moochie Norris nailed a 35-foot bomb as time expired to break a tie and give the Rockets a 98-95 win in Oakland over the Warriors.
It was amazing... ridiculous in fact. Even Santa would have laughed it off had Moochie wished for it. Cuttino Mobley had absolutely blown the Rockets' chance at victory by milking the entire clock down to almost zero when he desperately threw it to Moochie - who just heaved up the bomb that banked in for the win.
"It felt good from the time I released it," Norris said. "I was a little upset because it came so late: I felt like I didn't have time to get my feet set and get a good look.
"I take that shot in practice all the time, and tonight it paid off."
Warriors head coach Dave Cowens didn't think Mooch was too praiseworthy: "He's the guy least likely to make a shot for them," said Cowens. "It was a lucky shot at the right time. That's all it was."
As for me, I was too busy swearing Mobley's name up and down to realize Moochie had gotten the shot off and it had a chance.
Mobley finished with 20 points and made some big plays, but no doubt someone will be talking to him about the brainlock he suffered on that play -- Moochie shot or not.
Major props to Mo Taylor also, who went off for 22 points and 9 rebounds -- yes, nine -- including 5 offensive. Big Mo, coming off the horrible game in Vancouver, hit 10 of 16 shots and outplayed one of the hottest power forwards in the league in Antawn Jamison (23 points, 11 boards, 10-28 shooting). Kenny Thomas backed up Mo to the tune of 12 points (10 in the second quarter alone) and 6 boards.
Steve Francis handed out 9 of his 12 assists in the first half, and finished with 16 points (though he struggled shooting: 5-14)
Walt Williams added 9 while Hakeem Olajuwon struggled, turning the ball over 5 times in just 17 minutes of action. Chris Porter scored a career high 20 for the Warriors while Marc Jackson scored 15 to go with 10 caroms off the glass.
No matter how much I despise their TV announcers (oh my the play by play guy for the Warriors can not be tolerated), the Warriors did play hard in the fourth and have some good young talent in Jamison, Porter, Jackson, Vonteego Cummings, Larry Hughes (if he learns not to bitch at the refs and get tossed when his team needs him, like he did tonight)... they got it going late and gave the Rockets a huge scare.
Also, give it up to Rudy T -- he won his 400th game tonight. The man is the Rockets.
Game Notes: Maurice Taylor got the Rockets started with a "4-point play" -- the bucket and foul, then a missed free throw and put back. After a Walt three the Rockets led 9-4.
After Mo scored over Antawn Jamison, the Rockets led 21-20 and Mo already had 10 points.
But it was way too much of the second round rookies: Chris Porter and Marc Jackson. Jackson was 3-3 from the field and 5-5 from the line for 11 points while Porter had 12. After one: Warriors 29, Rockets 26.
After Jackson hit another jumper for GS, the Warriors led by 7 before Francis followed his own miss with a slam down the lane. Mobley followed with a fast break dunk and Kenny Thomas a turnaround in the lane to cut the lead down to 1 again.
After Mobley and Bullard threes the Rockets regained the lead at 40-39.
After Kenny Thomas made 2 free throws, the Rockets led 45-39 and capped a 17-4 run. Shortly thereafter Moochie drove baseline left and found a streaking Kenny Thomas for a slam, making it 49-41 Rockets.
When Kenny Thomas snared a rebound and found a streaking Steve Francis, who reversed Vonteego Cummins on the break for the bucket and foul (made the FT), the Rockets led 54-43.
Halftime: Rockets 57, Warriors 47.
What was so astounding was Antawn Jamison, who has been so hot shooting the ball the last few games that he was making hell look frosty, was held by the Rockets to just 1-12 shooting in the first half. The Rockets power forwards on the other hand played well -- Mo Taylor had 10 (all in the first quarter) while Kenny Thomas had 10 (all in the second quarter).
Francis meanwhile had 9 assists at intermission, to go with 7 points. The Rockets were shooting over 61%, while holding the Warriors to 38% from the floor.
The Warriors made a small run and cut the lead to 5 on multiple occasions, but the Rockets didn't fold -- after Mo Taylor tipped in a Francis miss the Rockets led 69-61.
After another Mo Taylor bucket, giving him 17 points on the night, and a Mobley basket, the Rockets led 77-62. The Warriors put on a flurry just before the quarter ended, cutting it to 79-68... that was before Larry Hughes showed some intellectual deficiencies by picking up two technicals for the ol' heave-ho.
That act of stupidity gave the Rockets an 81-68 edge heading in to the fourth.
Mobley-Taylor-Francis ran a gorgeous 3 on 2 break, resulting in a Mo slam, and the Rocks led 83-70.
But the Warriors got it going... after Jamison and Cummings baskets, the Warriors had closed to within 6 at 84-78, forcing Rudy T to use a timeout.
Mobley scored out of the timeout, but Jamison converted a three-point play then Vinnie Del Negro (say again?) nailed a fadeaway baseline and unbelievably, the Warriors were within 3.
After a lousy call and a technical on Mobley, the Warriors had the ball and were within 2. Chris Porter then nailed a reverse layup with 4:36 to go, and it was tied at 88 -- capping a 16-4 run for the Warriors.
Kenny Thomas made a save -- Francis missed a three and Kenny knocked the board out of Marc Jackson's hand and in to Mo's... who was fouled. Mo made the first free throw, but missed the second -- but Francis outboarded Jamison and after pulling it out, made a turnaround to give Houston a 91-88 lead.
But Vonteego Cummings tied it back up with a three.
Two more free throws by Jamison gave the Warriors their first lead since early in he second quarter, 93-91 with 2:20 to go.
Mobley responded with a pair of free throws, but both teams went cold from there. Francis dribbled the ball off his foot while trying to drive and spin on Del Negro... Mobley got tied up for a jumpball (which he lost) on a drive.
Jamison however missed three straight 8-foot turnarounds in the middle of the paint on three straight possessions, and with the game tied at 93, the Rockets called timeout with 34.9 ticks left on the game clock.
Right out of the timeout Rudy's plan was to shoot quickly for a 2 for 1. Mobley drove and made a crazy-cool bank shot, silencing the crowd and giving the Rockets the 95-93 lead with 29.6 seconds left.
Coming out of the timeout, Del Negro dribbled off some clock... he seemed to lose the ball and Francis went for the steal. Del Negro scooped it up, turned and fired a pass down low to Jamison for two. Crowd goes nuts...
Mobley gets the ball with just over 12 seconds left.... he brings the ball up slowly... too slowly. He milks WAY, WAY too much time off the clock -- in fact he blew all the time... so he desperately threw a last second pass to Moochie who was dead on center from 35-feet out.
He threw up the lefty prayer at the buzzer... it banked in.