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3/11/2003 - Houston Chronicle
Rockets rally to nail Clippers in overtime
3/11/2003 - Houston Chronicle
Rice comes up big at end for Rockets
3/11/2003 - Los Angeles Times
Clippers Lose, Technically
Rockets Escape Clippers
Team uses triples, questionable call to force OT, pull out victory
By Clutch
MARCH 12, 2003 10:06 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. CLIPPERS
If you're a fan of the Lakers, Suns or Warriors, or Clippers head coach Dennis Johnson, you can't be happy with the officials from Wednesday night's Rockets game.

Meanwhile, if you're a Rocket fan... finally we get a break.

A terrible call by the officials helped the Rockets force overtime, where they capitalized by beating the Clippers 119-114 Wednesday night in Houston, improving to 33-30 to tie the Phoenix Suns for the 8th seed in the West.

The Rockets, who had seemed to choke away the game in the final couple of minutes by going scoreless for 3+ minutes, used a 20-footer and a triple by Glen Rice and another triple by Steve Francis in the final 36 seconds to tie the game.

Problem was 13+ seconds still remained after Francis' game-tying triple. The Rockets defense seemed to have Andre Miller shut down, but James Posey inexplicably hacked/grabbed Miller's elbow as he was turning away from defenders. That put Miller at the line with 1.1 ticks left - and the Rockets had no timeouts left to use.

Rice and Taylor both played well, but give it to Francis, who had 25 points, 9 assists, 6 boards and a pair of steals - including a monster one with 30+ seconds left in OT.
It would take an act of Congress for Rudy T to change his starting lineup, but it may be time for Mo Taylor to take over for Eddie. There is the confidence factor and the fact that without Mo, the second-team has little offensive pop, but unfortunately Eddie doesn't appear to be bringing a lot right now.

Miller went to the line and sank the first freebie. Translation: Game Over.

Not so fast. Referee Jim Clark waved off the free throw, saying that Miller had stepped over the free throw line before making the shot. Replays however clearly showed Miller did not step over the line until after he had made it.

Miller then was way short on his next freebie, and the Rockets had completely escaped a devastating loss -- given new life in OT.

They capitalized. Francis scored 2 buckets early to put the Rockets up and had what in essence was the game-winning steal: A pick of a Lamar Odom pass that he immediately threw to a steaking Glen Rice for a slam.

Both Francis and Rice had terrific games. Stevie scored a team-high 26 points to go with 9 assists. Rice was all offense - he nailed 5-10 from long range for 25 points. In fact, the Rockets put up a staggering 32 three-pointers, making 11 (34.4%).

Cuttino Mobley played every single minute in this ballgame - 53. He hit 8-16 shots for 23 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals. Still had a couple of boneheaded turnovers, including one where he just fell down and lost the ball in overtime, but overall a very good game.

Yao Ming was 4-8 from the floor for 10 points, 10 boards and 5 big blocks, including a huge one in overtime. This now means the Rockets have improved their record to 18-4 when Yao blocks 3 or more shots. Houston is a .500 ballclub folks, so this stat can't be discounted. When the big fella's defensive presence in the paint is felt, the Rockets win.

Speaking of blocks, where have Eddie Griffin's gone? 20-years old or not, Eddie is just not getting the job done, and Maurice Taylor may be swiping his spot sooner rather than later. Eddie played just 17 minutes, scoring 4 points, while Mo got the bulk of the PT coming up with 18 points, 7 boards and 4 assists - including a sweet alleyoop to an airborne Francis in transition.

You have to be happy the Rockets got the win, but still, they nearly blew this game, as they have so many this season to the league's bottom-dwellars. And Elton Brand wasn't in uniform. And did I mention that Cherokee Parks scored 18 for the Clippers. Let me say that again: Cherokee Parks scored a dozen and a half points against an NBA team. Sick, sick, sick. Should be a league rule: Any team that gives up 18 to Cherokee is immediately granted the draft rights to Lebron James. That's a feat in and of itself.


Clutch can be reached at clutch@clutchcity.net and also can be followed on Twitter



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