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11/1/2000 - Houston Chronicle
First-half blitz switches script from opener
11/1/2000 - Houston Chronicle
Early returns show this is guards' team
11/1/2000 - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
A plateful of Texas toast
11/1/2000 - Houston Chronicle
Injury list keeps growing
Big Win, Tough Losses
Rockets destroy Bucks 115-93, lose Taylor, Cato to ankle sprains
By Clutch

The way the Wizard was cruising in the first half we thought he was going to go for 50. 28 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Cato wants to lead the league in rebounding? He needs to lead the team first because that job right now belongs to Walt.
It seemed to be contagious as even some in the Clutch Chat room went down with ankle sprains. Rockets lose both Mo and Cato to badly twisted ankles...
You just shake your head and hope it's not one of those years.

The Rockets won and won big Thursday night, but it's the losses they suffered that could come back to bite them.

The Rockets lost Kelvin Cato and Maurice Taylor to ankle sprains Thursday, which took some of the joy out of opening up a can of whoop ass on the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of a 115-93 win in the Compaq Center.

The early word is Cato will miss 4-6 weeks of action with a "severe high ankle sprain" while Mo's case is less severe and is day to day.

Walt Williams exploded for 28 points and 10 boards, 23 and 7 of which came in the first half alone. He also dished out 4 assists, 3 steals and a pair of blocks. Huge night for the Wiz.

Shandon Anderson meanwhile overpowered Ray Allen (6-17, 19 points) all night, fouling him out in the fourth quarter, and racked up 25 points and 7 boards in large part because he drew so many fouls (going 13-15 from the line).

Though Walt and Shandon were the big number heroes, it was Matt Bullard and Moochie Norris who broke the backs of the Bucks' comeback attempt in the fourth. Moochie (8 points, 4 assists) scored 4 straight points to put the Rockets' lead back in to double digits while Bullard (14 points) nailed 2 threes late that turned the game into a rout once again.

Cuttino Mobley scored 14 points, but hit just 4of 14 from the field while Steve Francis, plagued by foul trouble, scored 12, handed out 7 dimes and grabbed 4 boards.

Some key reasons why the Rockets won big?

  • They went nuts from the three-point line, hitting 12-27 from beyond the arc.
  • They kept the turnovers down, committing 14 all game, only 4 of which came in the first half when the Rocks put up 70 big ones on the board.
  • Much better passing (as noted by the turnovers) as the Rockets seemed to find the open man at times with complete ease.
  • Improved defense. When you play none, as the Rockets did against the Wolves, anything is an improvement.

Game Notes:
The Rockets, behind 5 points by Walt and 4 by Mo, jumped out to an early 11-5 lead. After a three by Shandon and then a beautiful backdoor layup by Hakeem off a feed from Walt the Rockets led 17-7. After another Wizard jumper the Rockets led 26-14 and Walt had 10 points already.

The Bucks ran off 6 straight before back to back threes by Walt and Bullard put the Rockets ahead 11, 37-26, as the first quarter ended.

The Rockets smoked from beyond the arc, hitting 6-10 from the cheap seats in the first frame.

Rockets kept it going early in the second, and after another three, this one by Francis, the Rocks led 42-26.

The Rockets got a scare early in the second though when Cato landed awkwardly on Jason Caffey's foot and injured his left ankle. He was taken to the locker room and it was later learned it was a severe sprain which could keep him out of action more than a month.

After a Shandon three, the Rockets led 49-30. Walt kept on cooking too. He hit 2 freebies, then picked Sam Cassell clean on the inbounds pass and after being fouled made two more free throws, giving him 21 points.

After a Mobley jumper it was 60-36 Rockets and there was still 4:20 to go in the first half.

At the half it was 70-49 Rockets and Walt Williams was having a monster game just looking at his first half numbers alone. 8-12 shooting, 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Shandon had 11 and Francis had 8, 6 assists and 4 boards. The Rockets had just 4 first half turnovers.

The Rockets went ice cold however in the third. Francis got in foul trouble, picking up his fourth and fifth fouls while the Bucks whittled down a 25-point deficit to 14, 80-66, after a Tim Thomas bucket. Thomas just burned Matt Bullard on one play, blowing by Bull at the top of the key and slamming it home (and picking up the foul) to cut the lead to 82-69 Rockets.

How bad did things get in the third? Mobley beat his man to the bucket and badly bricked a point blank layup, and when Lindsey Hunter made his layup on the other end it was just a single-digit lead, 83-74.

End of the third: Rockets 85, Bucks 74. The Rockets made just one field goal the entire period -- shooting 10% for the period.

The Bucks got it down to 8 before a Moochie circus layup made it 87-77 Rockets.

More bad news: Mo Taylor left the game in the fourth with the same problem as Cato: sprained ankle.

The injury seemed to rally the troops as three-pointers by Bullard and finally Mobley put the Rockets up 99-81 with 5:37 to go.

They cruised from there.

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