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Person's five 3-pointers ground Rockets

12/14/2002

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Wesley Person's 3-point shooting was the talk of the Grizzlies locker room.

Person hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to play in overtime and followed with two foul shots to help Memphis to a 114-109 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

The Grizzlies won their fourth straight game, one short of the franchise record.

Person was 5-of-8 from 3-point range and is 22-of-35 in his last nine games. He had 21 points on the night.

"He's really a great shooter,'' said Memphis coach Hubie Brown, who sensed that Person's final 3-pointer was going to be good. "We knew that when it left his hand that it was going in. "He has a pure shot.''

Jason Williams, who had 25 points and 12 assists, said his respect for Person's 3-point shooting has grown steadily through the season.

"It's so effortless. Every time he shoots it, I expect it to go in and I think he does too,'' Williams said.

Houston guard Steve Francis, who had 29 points and nine assists, was disappointed with his play, even though he hit a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

"I don't care what anyone says, I take this loss. I made wrong decisions ... I made some bad shots in overtime,'' Francis said.

The loss ended a two-game winning streak for Houston.

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 29 points and 12 rebounds. He was
15-of-16 from the free throw line.

Cuttino Mobley had 25 points for Houston. Yao Ming had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Glen Rice added 16 points.

"I don't think our defense was good,'' Yao said through an interpreter. "We had a ton of turnovers. I had six myself, and that's way too many.''

The Rockets had 16 turnovers, while the Grizzlies had 13.

Houston took a seven-point lead, 20-13, midway through the first
period with a 10-point run fueled by six points from Kenny Thomas.

But the Grizzlies answered immediately with three 3-pointers,
two from Person and one from Williams, and a 19-footer by Gasol to
take a 24-20 lead.

In the second period, Gasol scored six unanswered points to put
the Grizzlies up 48-47 with 2:38 to play.

At the end of the third period, Houston was up 82-79.

Game notes
Memphis' Brevin Knight missed his second game in a row with
a sprained right foot. ... Houston's Maurice Taylor sat out because
of flu-like symptoms. ... The Rockets' Steve Francis was drafted in
the first round by the Grizzlies in 1999 but let the team know
right away he didn't want to play for the franchise, then located
in Vancouver. ... Gasol's 29 points matched a team-high for the
year set by Gordan Giricek against Dallas in the season-opener. ...
In promoting the game as "Yao vs Pau,'' the Grizzlies offered free
tickets to any fans 7-feet tall or taller. They got one taker,
7-foot Reuben Holmes, 37, of Memphis, who played basketball at
Carver High School and Alabama State.