Maurice Taylor put up a three at the buzzer for the win, but it wasn't to be.
When Mo's triple attempt was long, the Spurs had escaped a loss to a scrappy Rockets team with a 90-88 win in the Alamodome.
The loss is the third straight for the Rockets, and drops their record to 22-25.
The Rockets, despite again shooting very poorly (37.6%), played with the heart that was AWOL the previous two games. Cuttino Mobley got them started, and Steve Francis assured they wouldn't give up.
Mobley scored 8 points in each of the first three quarters, finishing with 28 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. Mobley played with a lot of intensity and heart -- I think, despite his amazingly quick first step, he plays stupidly in a lot of games, but I salute him for this performance. He hit 12-23 shots and wasn't afraid of Tim Duncan (28 points, 11 boards) and David Robinson's (13 points, 9 boards) defense inside. A defense that causes us a lot of problems.
Francis fouled out of the game with 18 seconds left, but he too left everything out on the floor. Steve finished with 29 points to lead all scorers, and added 10 boards (6 offensive) and 5 assists. He nailed two three-pointers back to back late in the fourth that no doubt gave the Spurs faithful a scare.
Taylor, who took the final shot as time expired off a pass from Moochie Norris, finished with 11 points and 9 boards. Hakeem Olajuwon added 10 points, 8 boards and a pair of blocks, but missed 9 of his 13 shots.
Shandon Anderson, please return to us. We miss you. Shandon, 0-5 from the field for 0 points in 22 minutes, is now 1 for 13 for just 2 points in his last 3 games. Sad. He's the "Invisible Man" out there.
But Walt Williams was simply a waste on the court. Walt threw up brick after brick and I found myself watching him going, "What's his purpose out there? Why the hell is he playing?" 1-10 from the field and many of those shots were wide open looks.
Derek Anderson scored 15 points, 9 assists and 9 boards for the Spurs, who shot just under 46%.
Mobley scored the first 4 points for the Rockets, who got off to a quick 8-3 start, but the Spurs responded immediately with an 11-2 run to take a 14-10 lead.
The Rockets forced some turnovers and converted on the other end: Taylor converted a 3-point play, Mobley hit a baseline fadeaway, Francis a long jumper then Taylor popped a jumper on a fast break and the Rockets led 21-18.
Still, the Spurs, thanks to Tim Duncan's 13, had the edge after one 22-21. Mo Taylor (9 points) and Mobley (8) led the Rockets.
The Spurs kept the lead for most of the second quarter, but thanks in large part to Cuttino Mobley, the Rockets hung tough. Keeping them within 2-4 points.
After Derek Anderson put in a bucket, the Spurs led 36-31, but the Rockets came back. When Francis scored with just over a minute left in the half, the Rockets took a 39-38 lead. He nailed a three right after that, drawing "oohs" from the crowd, giving Houston a 42-40 lead. That was our halftime score.
Mobley added 8 more in the second, totalling 16 at half (8-12 shooting). Francis and Taylor each had 9.
The Spurs scored the first 5 points of the third, but Francis tied it back up with a 3. And that's how the third went.... see-saw back and forth game. One team went up two, the other team would respond with 4 straight, etc.
The Rockets trailed 55-53 when Mobley nailed two long jumper, than two freebies after a Derek Anderson triple, and the Rockets led 59-58.
It was 61 all heading in to the fourth. Cuttino had 24 points and 5 boards while Francis 16 and 6.
A team finally seized the momentum to start the fourth, and unfortunately it wasn't the Rockets. With it knotted up at 63 each, Tim Duncan hit two free throws, Antonio Daniels nailed a jumper than Steve Kerr busted a trifecta on a break and the Spurs crowd was in a frenzy: San Antonio had its biggest lead of the game 70-63.
It stayed that way, between 7-8 points, before Mobley nailed two free throws than Mo Taylor a slam then another deuce, and the Spurs were forced to take a timeout because the Rockets were within 1 at 78-77.
The Spurs scored quickly, but Francis countered with a three to tie the game at 80 with 2:58 left. San Antonio again scored a bucket but Francis again nailed a triple and just like that the Rockets seized the lead 83-82.
But Duncan nailed 1-2 free throws then Steve Kerr drained a pair and it was 85-83 Spurs. Francis hit 1-2 from the charity stripe, but Robinson countered by hitting both of his to increase the lead to 3 for San Antonio with 1:01 left in the contest.
Mobley isolated his man on the right wing and blew by him to the bucket, but Tim Duncan went for the block and clipped Cat in the back. No call, but Mobley, who hurt his back in the Clippers game, was rolling on the court in pain while the Spurs went the other way.
The unforutnate incident cost the Rockets, who were forced to foul to help Mobley. Terry Porter nailed both free throws with 33.9 seconds left to make it 89-84 Spurs.
Derek Anderson fouled Francis with just under 24 seconds left and Steve nailed both free throws. Francis returned the favor, fouling Anderson quickly (18 seconds left) to put him at the line -- unfortunately that was it for Steve, who picked up his 6th foul.
Anderson, the Spurs' best free throw shooter, missed both freebies. Dream got the board, and after a timeout, Moochie drove and hit a bank shot in the lane with 9 seconds left. The Rockets immediately fouled Terry Porter, and he missed the first free throw, making the second. 90-88 Spurs.
Moochie brought the ball down quickly, did some one-on-one then threw it to Mo Taylor with the clock about out. He put up a three for the win, but was way long. Game over.