The Utah Jazz showed the young Rockets a thing or two Saturday night, beating Houston 103-87 in the Compaq Center behind 57 points by Karl Malone and Bryon Russell.
The loss was the Rockets' third straight and drops their record to 10-23. The Rockets are now 0-19 this season when trailing after three quarters.
Russell scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half while Malone dropped in 32. How about that Karl Malone. What an ageless wonder. I mean just the other day he kicked Shawn Bradley in the nuts as hard as he kicked back when he was 27 years old... if not harder.
What a model of consistency.
Anyhow, this game was close until the second quarter came to a close. With about 3 minutes left the Rockets trailed 44-40. A few minutes into the third period they trailed 68-44.
The bright spot for the Rockets was an excellent night from 'Los -- Carlos Rogers.
Rogers scored 28 points (15 of which came in his first 14 minutes of action) in 38 minutes as the starting center, hitting 10 of his 13 shot attempts. He added 5 boards.
(Via the Houston Chronicle we just learned that Rogers' brother Kefrin had died as a result of an aneurysm just hours before tipoff. Rogers has suffered through several tragedies in the past: his brother shot, lost his sister to a kidney disease, a cousin badly injured. It really put this game into perspective and showed how much heart this guy has. I gained even more respect for 'Los and our prayers are with that family as they've suffered enough)
Shandon Anderson also had a good game, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards. Cuttino Mobley came off the bench to score 15 points, but connected on just 4-12 shots.
The Franchise struggled however. Steve Francis played just 30 minutes (suffered a slight ankle injury but returned) and missed 8 of his 10 shot attempts. He scored just 5 points and committed 7 turnovers.
Matt Bullard (2-8, 6 points) and Walt Williams (0-4, 1 point) were the starting forwards, meaning three starters (Bull, Walt, Francis) combined to shoot 4-22 from the field.
Some good news was the boardwork of newly signed Anthony "Pig" Miller, who grabbed 11 caroms off the glass in 27 minutes, and Kenny Thomas, who grabbed 6 in just 13 minutes.
Problems were aplenty. Three-point shooting was awful as the Rockets connected on a pathetic 2 of 16 shots from downtown. Meanwhile the Jazz hit 7-12 ... a 15-point differential on the three-pointers and the Jazz took 4 less attempts. Defense might have been one of the biggest problems however as the Rockets forced just 9 turnovers -- only picking 3 steals and blocking 3 shots as a team (not having Hakeem Olajuwon nor Kelvin Cato might have something to say there).