Cuttino Mobley is putting up big numbers.
Cuttino exploded for 40 points, one shy of his career high, and the Rockets decimated the Boston Celtics on the glass, beating Beantown 99-89 in Houston Saturday night.
The win is the Rockets' second in a row, both against playoff contenders, and ups their mark to 20-36.
What was amazing was how badly the Rockets were getting worked early. Paul Pierce (30 points, 6-9 from long range) and Antoine Walker (25 points) had it going on early. Boston hit their first 6 threes and took a 34-16 advantage after one.
The Celts built their lead up to 20 points before Mobley led a second quarter charge that got the Rockets to within 4 at half. The Rockets jumped out to a 10-0 run to start the second and kept on charging.
And Mobley was simply the man this night. He hit 13-26 shots, nailed 10-10 from the stripe, snared 7 boards and picked 3 steals to go along with his 40 (his career high is 41 set against the Warriors on January 18, 2001 and matched last month against the Nets). He also hit 4 bombs in 11 attempts.
With the sole exception of the Milwaukee game, where Cuttino struggled (3-14 shooting), Mobley is averaging 25.6 points on 50.6% shooting (78 of 154) and has hit 17 of his 37 threes in 7 of his last 8 games.
The man runs hot and cold, and right now he's running very hot.
Steve Francis showed a lot of guts playing tonight. He had a severe headache once again, and will be going to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota this Monday for further testing, but he wanted to grit this one out. He didn't shoot well (3-15) and turned the ball over 7 times ... but his presence was huge. 11 points, 9 boards, 8 assists and 3 steals.
And without him, Kelvin Cato wouldn't have had a field day.
Francis simply makes Cato an offensive threat inside on just one play. The alleyoop has become a serious threat, and Francis fed 'Special K' for a number of wham-bam-jams, especially in the fourth. Cato finished with 14 points, 11 boards (5 offensive) and 4 blocks. He was something tonight.
In fact, on the glass, it was no contest. The Rockets outrebounded Boston 45-28, but what was incredible was the difference on the offensive boards: Houston held a 17-3 advantage, and that hurt Beantown bigtime.
And how about Terence Morris? Morris started in place of Eddie Griffin, who was out with the flu, and played 37 minutes, finishing with a career-high 11 points, blocked a pair of shots, hit his only triple attempt and grabbed 5 boards (3 offensive). He's making his pitch for more regular PT.