Before Jazz fans could shout, "John Stockton!", Steve Francis had torn their heart out.
After Stockton hit a layin with 5.4 seconds left, Francis wasted no time, ran down and nailed a three-point bomb with 0.1 ticks left on the clock, punking the Jazz and giving the Rockets the 95-92 victory.
The win ends the Rockets mini-slide and ups their mark to 23-39 on the season. The Jazz, trying to hold the 8th seed in the West, fall to 34-28.
Francis' triple was right in Stockton's mug, just minutes after Stockton had dished out his 15,000th career assist. Steve finished with 16 points, 7 boards, 6 assists and a pair of blocks.
Dude, I got to admit - I'm all about the losses these days. With a 22-39 record going in, it's critical the Rockets get the best draft pick possible. But to beat the Jazz? Always I'm on board for that.
Cuttino Mobley led all scorers with 28 points to go with 3 steals. His scoring run can't even be considered a "run" anymore, he's been putting up numbers for so long now. Cuttino is averaging a career high 21.3 a night now and has upped his field goal percentage to 43.4%. Impressive.
Kenny Thomas and Kelvin Cato played critical roles down the stretch. With just under a minute to go, Cato had a thunderous block of a Karl Malone layup (which resulted in Malone exploding at the refs, which a minute later got him a tech), then KT made a gorgeous pass, connecting with Cato underneath for a tough layin that put the Rockets up 2.
KT finished with 18 points, 9 boards and a pair of blocks while Cato had 8 points (4-4 from the floor), 4 boards and 4 swats.
Terence Morris got the start in place of Walt Williams and despite hitting just 4-12, he finished with 8 points, 10 boards and 3 assists. Eddie Griffin came off the bench, hitting a pair of triples for 11 points, 8 boards and 3 swats.
In fact, the Rockets had 13 blocked shots, compared to the Jazz rejecting just 2 Rocket shots. That played a critical role in the Rocket win.
Malone led the Jazz with 21 and 10 boards while Stockton added 12 and 13 assists. Donyell Marshall had 18 points and 15 boards.
Interesting to note that Walt Williams did not play this game, and Rudy decided to keep Eddie Griffin on the bench, instead starting Terence Morris.
Morris didn't disappoint. He hit 3-6 shots for 6 points and the Rockets jumped out early, taking a 27-19 lead after one. Cuttino Mobley led the Rockets with 9 while Karl Malone led the Jazz with 6.
Eddie came in in the second quarter and played well, hitting 3-6 shots (including a bomb) for 7 points, but the rest of the team didn't fare too well. Take out Griffin and the rest of the Rockets were 2-12 from the floor for 6 total points... the Jazz used that to close to within 40-39 at half.
Mobley led the team with 11 while Donyell Marshall was the game-high scorer with 12.