Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/20

Game 1: Friday, December 20th
Game 2: Friday, January 10th

Hawks 82

(10-15, 2-11 away)

Rockets 101


    7:30 PM ET, December 20, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 28 21 19 1482
    HOU 20 18 37 26101

    Top Performers

    Atl: G. Robinson 28 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast

    Hou: C. Mobley 22 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Blk

    Yao narrowly misses double-double in Rockets' win

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Behind Glen Rice's 3-point shooting, the Houston Rockets had a big enough third quarter to turn the game around.

    Glen Rice

    Rice, Cuttino Mobley and Yao Ming led the way as Houston had its highest-scoring quarter of the season in a 101-82 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

    The Rockets outscored the Hawks 37-19 in the period.

    Rice had 11, Mobley 10 and Yao nine in the quarter, and Houston added a 14-4 run in the fourth, with Steve Francis scoring eight, to go ahead by as many as 19.

    Steve Francis finished with 23 points, Mobley added 22 and Yao had 17 points and eight rebounds -- only the second time in nine games he has missed a double-double.

    Houston went on a 12-0 run early in the third to close the gap to 55-54.

    Rice went 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in a span of 1:29, and Yao added a free throw in between as Houston tied the game, 61-61.

    "When he hit those 3s, that was the turning point of the game,'' Francis said. "They hadn't decided if they were going to play us honest on defense or what. But that shooting made the difference.''

    The Rockets took the lead for the first time since early in the game, 63-61, on Francis' jumper with 4:08 left in the third.

    Coach Rudy Tomjanovich also thought Rice's 13 points were a key.

    "I love him,'' Tomjanovich said. "He has had such a positive effect on this team, not only in his play but in his leadership.''

    Rice, who shot 5-of-8, says he is finding his shooting touch.

    "I'm really starting to feel comfortable out there,'' he said. "When we move the ball like we did and get it to the open man, it is a lot of fun.''

    The Hawks had most of the fun in the first half as Glenn Robinson scored 22 and Atlanta led 49-38 at intermission.

    "Glenn was awfully good then,'' coach Lon Kruger said. "And Jason (Terry) did a good job of penetrating. But everything was different in the third quarter.''

    Robinson had only six points the second half.

    "The zone bothered us and they got very hot,'' Robinson said. "We overcommitted on defense. We have to learn to play a full game like we did the first half.''

    Maurice Taylor started for only the third time this season and scored six points early to push Houston ahead 14-8 before Atlanta responded with a 10-0 run.

    Robinson hit his first six shots, including two 3s, and was 8-of-9 in the quarter. His 18 points helped Atlanta lead 28-20 after one.

    The Hawks stretched that margin to as many as 13 and settled for a 49-38 halftime lead as they were ahead 32-17 in rebounds, including a 14-3 edge in offensive boards. Robinson had 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting at the half.

    Game notes

    Taylor started in place of Eddie Griffin, who was not with the team due to personal reasons. ... Newly acquired James Posey, who came over in the three-team trade with the Nuggets and 76ers on Wednesday, played the last three minutes of the game. His only stat was a personal foul. ... Rudy Tomjanovich tied Kevin Loughery for 23rd on the career coaching victories list with 474 ... Chris Crawford didn't play (inflamed knee) for the eighth straight game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 101
    FGM-FGA 36-90 (.400) 36-80 (.450)
    3PM-3PA 5-16 (.313) 9-19 (.474)
    FTM-FTA 5-8 (.625) 20-23 (.870)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-49 4-39
    Assists 22 24
    Turnovers 13 8
    Steals 3 5
    Blocks 9 9
    Fast Break Points 3 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 13 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Glenn Robinson Robinson
    Points: 28
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 22
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4