Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/19

Game 1: Tuesday, November 19th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 5th

Cavaliers 80

(2-10, 1-7 away)

Rockets 97

(6-3, 4-1 home)

    Coverage: FSOH

    7:30 PM ET, November 19, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 18 20 25 1780
    HOU 27 18 24 2897

    Top Performers

    Cle: Z. Ilgauskas 24 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Hou: S. Francis 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Rockets' Mobley takes charge in fourth quarter

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Cuttino Mobley was almost as productive as the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth quarter.


    Mobley scored 12 of his 19 points in the final period, and the Houston Rockets, who never trailed after the opening minutes, cruised by the Cavaliers 97-80 Tuesday night.

    The fading Cavaliers had only 19 fourth-quarter points as Mobley took charge of the game.

    "I was only taking shots if somebody kicked it out to me,'' Mobley said. "I didn't have to force it. This is no disrespect to Cleveland, but if you are a good team, we know we're supposed to beat them. We tried to smack them out from the beginning.''

    Steve Francis added 18 points for the Rockets, while Eddie Griffin had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas led the Cavaliers with 24 points, while Ricky Davis added 19.

    "They were more aggressive,'' Ilgauskas said. "We got it close but then they hustled and wanted it more than we did. They outhustled us on the glass. They boxed out and got a lot of long rebounds. Sometimes those things happen.''

    Cleveland's only lead was 6-4, and the Rockets quickly took control.

    "Cuttino Mobley got a little hot at the end of the third and in the fourth quarter and I thought we lost our concentration,'' Davis said. "They are a good team. We've got to make them move the ball around to someone when they don't want to.''

    Yao Ming, who had a career-high 20 points in a 93-89 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, had nine points and six rebounds. Entering the game, he had hit 17 of his last 18 shots, including a 9-for-9 performance against the Lakers.

    He was 4-for-5 against Cleveland.

    The Rockets built a 13-point lead in the second quarter, but the Cavaliers cut it to 45-38 at halftime and they kept creeping up in the third quarter. They got within two points twice, the last time with 1:41 to go in the quarter on a basket by Davis.

    Jason Collier started at center for the Rockets in place of Kelvin Cato, who has missed several days of practice attending his grandmother's funeral.

    "I liked the way we ran and got easy baskets and hit the boards,'' Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "I think Jason did a great job of setting the tone tonight. He was running up and down the court and helping us get good shots.''

    Collier had 11 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes.

    Kenny Thomas made two free throws, Francis twisted through the lane for a layup and Maurice Taylor hit a jumper to put the Rockets ahead 69-63 at the end of the third quarter.

    Mobley helped the Rockets keep the Cavaliers at bay with his fourth-quarter performance.

    The Rockets spurted to a 23-11 lead in the first quarter and were up by 39-26 with 5:42 left in the second quarter when Ilgauskas led the Cavaliers on a 12-6 run that got them within 45-38 at halftime.

    Ilgauskas hit four of Cleveland's final six shots in the second quarter to help trim Houston's lead. The 7-foot-3 center had 13 points in the first half.

    Game notes

    The Rockets have a 38-11 record against the Cavaliers at home. ... Griffin is the first rookie to lead the Rockets in blocked shots since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984-85. Griffin is 13th in the NBA with 1.84 blocks per game. ... Francis and Mobley are the NBA's second-highest-scoring backcourt tandem, averaging a combined 47.2 points per game. ... Cavs coach John Lucas was the first-round draft pick of the Rockets in 1976 and played five seasons in Houston.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 97
    FGM-FGA 31-74 (.419) 38-75 (.507)
    3PM-3PA 1-4 (.250) 0-4 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 21-29 (.724)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-27 13-48
    Assists 18 18
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 3 3
    Blocks 3 5
    Fast Break Points 3 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (2/0) 18 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas Ilgauskas
    Points: 24
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0