Rockets rookie overcomes hostile crowd

Click to follow

Rookie Steve Francis, playing for the first time in the city he snubbed, overcame a hostile crowd with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds on Monday night to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-110 overtime victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Rookie Steve Francis, playing for the first time in the city he snubbed, overcame a hostile crowd with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds on Monday night to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-110 overtime victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Francis, who refused to sign with the Grizzlies after they made him the No 2 overall pick in the June draft, played a sensational game even though fans mocked, cursed and threw objects at him.

Francis, who fouled out with 2:45 left in the overtime, sent the game into OT by hitting a 20-foot jumper with 2.6 seconds remaining and put the Rockets ahead for good when he opened the extra period with a 3-pointer.

Charles Barkley added 22 points as the Rockets snapped a four-game road losing streak and beat the Grizzlies for the eighth straight time.

But the center of attention was Francis, who was traded to Houston last August in a three-way deal that also involved Orlando.

The game was briefly delayed in the fourth quarter when fans began throwing objects on the floor, including a tomato that splattered on the court. Someone also threw a tennis ball on the floor when Francis was attempting a free throw with 20 seconds left.

Heat 98, Kings 88

In Miami, Jamal Mashburn scored 22 points on his 27th birthday, and P.J. Brown added 18 as Miami snapped Sacramento's eight-game winning streak.

Alonzo Mourning added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who built a 62-45 lead in the third quarter and were never seriously challenged after that in a meeting between teams that started the night as division leaders.

Chris Webber led Sacramento with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Williams added 17 points for the Kings.

Knicks 107, Mavericks 82

In New York, Charlie Ward made seven 3-pointers, tying the most in the NBA this season, and scored a career-high 25 points as the New York Knicks routed the Dallas Mavericks.

It was the most lopsided victory for the Knicks in more than two years and moved them above .500 (8-7) for the first time in more than two weeks.

Ward's seven 3-pointers were two shy of the Knicks record of nine by John Starks against Milwaukee in January 1998. Jaren Jackson of San Antonio also had seven 3-pointers in a game this season, doing it against the Mavericks on 20 November.

Michael Finley led Dallas with 20 points.

Jazz 115, Warriors 99

In Salt Lake City, Karl Malone scored 27 points, passing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA career scoring list, as the Utah Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors.

With Malone making his first six shots, there was no suspense about whether he could reach the scoring milestone. He came in needing six points to pass Jordan, and he did it on an 18-foot jumper with 9:24 left in the first quarter.

Malone made 12 of 14 field-goal attempts and narrowly missed a triple double with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He now has 29,299 points, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). Jordan finished his career with 29,277 points.

Damon Jones hit all five of his 3-point shots and led the Warriors with 17 points.

Pacers 93, Trail Blazers 91

In Portland, Oregon, Jalen Rose scored 22 points, and Dale Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers edged the Portland Trail Blazers.

Scottie Pippen had a chance to tie, but his jumper went off the back of the rim with about 8 seconds left. The Blazers had one more chance, but an inbounds pass was knocked away and picked up by Indiana's Reggie Miller.

Miller scored 15 points but shot just 2-of-11 from the field. The previous night, he was 1-of-9 with a season-low six points in a loss at Seattle.

Rasheed Wallace had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Portland.

Comments