Rasheed Wallace. He's good. Might want to guard that guy.
The 6'11" All-Star power forward for the Blazers popped off for 20 of his 27 points in the second half, and that coincided with some piss-poor play by the Rockets as Houston gave up the lead and the game in the fourth quarter and Portland pulled away for the 95-89 win in the Compaq Center.
The loss snaps the Rockets 4-game winning streak and drops their record to 30-27.
More importantly, the Rockets are now 1-11 against the West's Big Four of Portland, LA, Utah and San Antonio.
The Rockets, after scoring 55 points in the first half to take a 7-point lead at intermission, could muster just 34 in the second half... including just 14 in the all-too-important fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, the Rockets missed 4 of 6 free throws, and that was a killer.
Speaking of killers, Wallace hit jumpers from as far back as the three-point line, and the Rockets could do little to stop him. Maurice Taylor didn't have a great game (12 points, 4 boards, 6-14 shooting) and Kenny Thomas was just plain awful in the final period.
When Wallace wasn't hurting us, Damon Stoudamire was (and he's done it to the Rockets in all three matchups this season). Little "Mighty Mouse", who was nearly a Rocket in 1998 ("Burn in hell, David Aldridge"), ripped the nets for 4 triples and scored 18 points, 7 assists and (breace yourselves) 9 rebounds.
Dude looks like he's 5'4" and he's grabbing 9 boards.
A bunch of us fans from the BBS were at Showplace Lanes to watch the game, and the question we were left asking afterwards was where was Shandon Anderson in the fourth quarter?
Shandon had 15 points, including 9 in the first few minutes of the ballgame, but played just 29 minutes and what seemed like nada in the final frame. While Wallace and Steve Smith were hitting some big shots, the Rockets countered with Walt Williams (11 points, 4-5 shooting) on defense and it wasn't getting it done.
Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets in scoring (16) and rebounds (11). Steve Francis had 14, 9 assists and 6 boards but hit just 5-13 from the field while watching Cuttino Mobley was painful. 4 costly turnovers and that foul late, with 25 seconds left in the game, on Steve Smith, with the shot clock winding down to nothing... killing me! It put Smith at the line and the Blazers up 6 after he made both shots.
Mobley finished with 13 points and 5 boards.
Scottie Quitten put up 10 points, 7 boards, 6 assists and turned it over 5 times and it cost Portland about $500 grand for the effort.