Come on now... lets be honest: The Houston Rockets tanked this game.
Oh the players on the floor didn't, but you can bet that Cuttino Mobley's "flu" wasn't going to keep him out of a normal game, and neither was Steve Francis' ankle.
Both players sat out Sunday night's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies and the lack of firepower proved to be just enough for the Rockets to get away with the "L", falling 98-95.
The loss drops the Rockets record to now 28-52 on the season, a game up on the Cavaliers for the 5th spot in Lottery Race 2002.
Both Francis and Mobley were part of a scrimmage game on Saturday night, though both coached... and seemed fine. But lets face it, the Rockets aren't dummies, and at this stage of the season, playing our "best" isn't worth sacrificing draft status.
The guys out there on the floor didn't do too shabby. Tierre Brown (12 points, 7 boards, 4 steals) looked like a stud after he beautifully stole a Pau Gasol pass in mid-sprint and went the length of the floor, getting a layup goaltended that tied the game at 95 with 24.9 seconds left.
But Oscar Torres made a mental mistake, fouling Will Solomon (who faked a three-attempt), and putting him at the line for three freebies with just under 5 seconds left in the game. When Jason Collier's pass to Eddie Griffin down low was stolen, that was game.
Terence Morris scored a career high 13 points, hitting 6-12 from the floor, to go with 10 boards -- 5 of which came on the offensive glass. He actually looked pretty good out there... definitely a rook who needs some PT to develop some confidence in his NBA game.
Collier got the start in place of Cato, scoring 8 points, but Kevin Willis came off the bench to knock down 18, 5 boards and had -- get this -- 5 steals. Yes, Kevin Willis. The T-Rex ladron.
Kenny Thomas finished with 14 and 8, Moochie Norris added 9 and 8 dimes (though he shot just 3-12 from the field) and Torres knocked down 11. Boy did Torres have one nice finger roll layin, using those longer arms ... seriously looked like Clyde Drexler then.
The rookies did most of the damage for the Grizzlies. Shane Battier hit 7-8 from the field (including 4-4 from long range) to lead all scorers with 19 while Pau Gasol had 18, 11 boards and 8 assists. Jason Williams added 16 and 11 assists in one of his final games where he has a near unique name in this league.