The Rockets started out real flat. Cuttino Mobley would be the first to admit it was not his best half, committing 3 turnovers and shooting poorly. But none of the Rockets played well in the first quarter as Minnesota led 19-15 after one.
They scored the first 4 points of the second quarter too and you could tell the fans were tired of the poor play.
That's when the team woke up, thanks to Maurice Taylor.
Mo scored 10 points in the period (on 5-7 shooting) and sparked a 19-0 run -- that's right, 19-0 -- to put the Rockets ahead 34-23.
At half: Rockets 42, Timberwolves 36.
The most impressive thing in the first half may have been the fact that Steve Francis had just one shot attempt (misleading since he attempted some shots, but got fouled, but still). He had 6 points, 7 assists and 5 boards in the first half.
The Rockets really turned it on in the third though.
The Rockets put on another run -- this one an 11-0 scamper -- to go up by as much as 19. There were two great highlights in the quarter:
First, Kevin Garnett went straight up for a slam and Eddie Griffin rejected it soundly, which flustered Garnett badly (he and Rice picked up a double technical for jawing the next way down). But clearly Griffin's block was big.
Another sweet play was the gorgeous pass that Yao Ming had to a cutting Cuttino Mobley for the layin. It's amazing how much better the offense looks when it goes through Yao.
Glen Rice knocked down three big threes also while Francis had 4 more assists in the quarter.
Through three: Rockets 74, Timberwolves 57.
Mobley and Rice each led the team in scoring with 15. Yao Ming had 9 points and 11 boards while Francis had 9, 11 assists and 7 boards.
The fourth was flat out ugly to start. The first 13 shots of the period by both teams were misses. Minnesota had the first field goal of the period at the 7:05 mark and when Kelvin Cato threw down a slam at the 6:07 mark, it was Houston's first field goal of the period.
After Francis fouled out (and picked up a 'T' for letting the officials know about the call), Minnesota was within 12. Back-to-back triples put a serious scare in the Rockets, but Mo Taylor hit a couple of big buckets, one of which came off a nice cut and feed from Yao Ming, and Houston held on for the win.