Steve Francis returned.
And so did the Rockets in the win column.
Shandon Anderson paced the Rockets attack as a huge fourth quarter lifted Houston over the Cavs 91-83 in the Compaq Center.
The win snaps a 2-game slide and improved the Rocks' record to 20-29.
Anderson was huge, hitting 10-21 shots for 23 points, 10 boards and 3 steals.
The bench was just as big however as the Rocket reserves outscored those of the Cavs 39-8. Leading the "Bench Brigade" was Kenny Thomas, who hit 2 clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 8 of his 14 total in the final frame. He also grabbed 8 boards, dished 4 assists and picked 4 steals in 31 minutes of play.
Also playing superbly on the offensive end off the bench was Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream hit 6-7 shots for 12 points in just 19 minutes of action. Kelvin Cato backed him up with 8 points and 9 boards to go along with a pair of blocks.
Cat, Cuttino Mobley, also added 11 points.
Having a very good game in the usual starting role was Walt Williams, who knocked down 7-11 shots (including 3-4 from long range) for 17 points and 3 steals in 27 minutes.
The Rockets as a team had a season high 14 steals.
Francis, in his first game back after a 2-game layoff due to a knee injury, was very rusty, hitting just 2-13 shots for 5 points and 4 assists, and regularly got burned by fellow rookie point guard Andre Miller, who is looking better with each game (21 points, 7 boards, 7 assists).
I actually missed the first half due to calls and follow-ups for SaveOurRockets.com -- the movement just exploded when word got out. All I can say is do what you can to help out and thank those who have gotten behind it. This movement in just a few days took the city by storm and we've received calls from insane amounts of people jumping in for the cause.
Big things are on the way.
Anyhow, I'm off the soapbox. I turned the ringer off for the second half ... figures it was the third quarter when they started to stink up the joint. The Rockets led 45-39 at half thanks in large part to Shandon and Walt. Anderson had 10 points (5-9 shooting) and 7 boards at the break while Walt led all scorers with 11. Dream also connected on 4-5 shots for 8 points.
New signee Moochie Norris, the 6'1" point guard fresh out of the CBA, didn't play, but he's definitely a Rock -- wearing a red headband, he fit right in.
However the Rockets came out flat in the third, and Cleveland outscored the Rockets 25-16 in the period to lead 64-61 through three.
Mobley and Person exchanged threes and the Cavs led 67-66. However Shandon scored 2 and then Hakeem spun Retro Rock Mark Bryant around like a top and nailed the 16-foot fadeaway and Houston led 70-67.
Kenny Thomas then nailed a three and after a Mobley to Cato fast break, the lead was 77-67 and a 16-3 run for the Rockets.
After another three by Thomas, the Rockets were rolling... and on their way to victory.