Carlos Rogers, welcome back!
'Los came up big in Cleveland as the rarely used forward came off the bench to score 22 points as the Rockets surprised the Cavs 100-95 in Gund Arena.
The win ups the Rockets mark to 15-16.
Rogers was a beast. Sporting a new hairdoo that screamed "Brian Grant meets Keith Closs", Rogers nailed 10-11 shots and grabbed 10 boards in 31 minutes of play.
You have got to love seeing this, especially on a night when our other power forward struggled. Maurice Taylor came out red hot, nailing his first 5 shots, but he missed his last 5 after hurting his knee and he did not return to the ballgame. Kenny Thomas' shooting was dog ass ugly -- like Linda Tripp ugly. He hit just 2-11 from the field.
Rogers was damn near perfect and was the difference in the game. Keep this in mind: Though Rogers has played in just 12 games, he is hitting over 72% of his shots this season (24-33).
Steve Francis also was terrific, scoring 21 points, tearing down 9 boards and handing out 7 assists. He missed his first 6 shots but made 7-14 from there. Shandon Anderson also had a very nice all around game, connecting on 5-7 for 15 points, 7 boards and 6 dimes.
Cuttino Mobley added 14 points.
Lamond Murray led the Cavs with 24 points and 11 boards while Andre Miller scored 19, grabbed 6 boards and handed out 8 assists. Rookie center Chris Mihm out of the University of Texas scored 17 and grabbed 7 boards while Matt Harpring had 16 and 10. Clarence Weatherspoon grabbed 18 rebounds.
In fact the Cavs dominated the Rockets on the boards (59-43), but the Rockets made up for that by turning the ball over just 8 times while hitting over 45% of their shots (while holding the Cavs to under 40%)
Maurice Taylor was smoking hot early. He nailed three mid-to-long-range jumpers, and after Moochie Norris swiped the ball and went the other way for 2, the Cavs were forced to call timeout, down 8-2.
Mo kept the heat on though... he nailed two more long jumpers (5-5 from the field, all from 15 feet out or farther) and majorly swatted Chris Mihm. Despite that early burst, the Cavs ran off 8 straight points and took their first lead 14-12.
A Cuttino Mobley drive gave the Rockets the lead heading in to the second quarter, 20-18.
While Taylor was 5-5 for 10 points in the quarter, Steve Francis was 0-6, including missed alleyoops and dunks. Lamond Murray led the Cavs with 6.
The Rockets exploded early in the second though, Francis and Carlos each scored and after Walt Williams drained a trifecta, the Rockets were up 11, silencing the Gund Arena crowd. After a Cavs timeout they pushed the lead up to 13... but the Cavs started to chip away.
Carlos Rogers then got hot, hitting a few more shots (5-5 from the field), putting the Rockets up 39-32. After Matt Harpring scored a deuce though the once 13-point Rocket lead was down to 3, 39-36.
At half, the Rockets led 43-39. Mo Taylor missed his final three shots of the half, going 5-8 for 10 points. Carlos was 5-5 for 10 points. Francis was just 2-9 from the floor. Lamond Murray had 13 for Cleveland while Clarence Weatherspoon had 11 boards at half.
Francis let out some frustration with a slam on a drive, putting the Rockets up 4, but he hung on the rim apparently too long (lame ass call) and picked up a technical for it. The Cavs took advantage -- after Matt Harpring nailed 2 free throws, the Cavs tied the game at 53. But Shandon Anderson nailed back to back threes (ending a 1-10 drought from downtown for the Rockets), putting the Rockets up 6.
Thanks to 11 points by Francis and more buckets from Carlos Rogers the Rockets led 71-64 after three.
The Cavs wasted absolutely zero time getting back to within a few points, and we pick it up in the fourth with about 7 minutes to go. Cuttino scored, giving the Rockets an 83-78 lead, but Andre Miller led a 6-0 charge that saw the Cavs take the lead 84-83 and ignited the Cleveland crowd.
Bullard responded however with 5:40 left by nailing a huge baseline triple that put the Rockets back up 2. After the Cavs scored to tie, Bullard again nailed a trey.
Mobley got to the line a little later, made the first and missed the second, but hero Carlos Rogers tipped in the board to make it 95-89 Rockets with just under 3 minutes left.
The Rockets stopped the Cavs and after a missed three by Bullard, Francis snuck in for the board and the Rocks milked some more time off the clock. Bulard again missed a three and the Cavs got the ball back with 1:08 to go.
Mihm was fouled and made a pair of free throws, but Carlos Rogers (who else?) grabbed the offensive board off a Shandon miss and put it back in, making it 97-91 with just over 40 ticks left on the clock.
From there it was free throws the rest of the way as Carlos had broken the Cavs' backs.