Mobley, Rockets come alive in fourth after disaster third


HOUSTON (AP) -- After tying a record for the lowest-scoring
quarter in the history of the franchise, the Houston Rockets rallied for what coach Rudy Tomjanovich termed one of their biggest
victories of the season.

"This was more than just one win,'' Tomjanovich said after the
Rockets recovered from a 7-point period to defeat the New Orleans
Hornets 97-85 Sunday night. "We stayed calm after the third

Cuttino Mobley had 12 of his 24 points, and Steve Francis had 12
of his 23 points, in the 38-point final period.

"I couldn't be happier with the way we responded in the fourth
quarter,'' Tomjanovich said. "Cuttino got it going. I was really
proud of our guys for not getting completely exasperated.''

Mobley realized the Rockets had to turn it around.

"We came out flat in the third period,'' he said. "We knew we
had to come our hard in the fourth.

"We didn't run anything in the third. They were pushing us out
of position and trying to be a little physical.''

The third period matched the worst for the Rockets, tying a mark
set on Nov. 15, 1991 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jamal Mashburn had 25 points for New Orleans, but The Hornets
lost for the fourth straight time and seventh in their last eight
games. Houston had lost a season-high three straight games.

"We didn't come out with any intensity in the fourth. We just
kind of let it slip away,'' New Orleans coach Paul Silas said. "We
can't feel sorry for ourselves because we have spent a lot of time
on the road. You still have to make plays that will win games for
you and we didn't do that tonight.''

The Hornets scored 12 straight points to open the second half
and move ahead 55-52 with 4:51 left in the period. A 3-point play
by Mashburn increased the lead to 65-57, and New Orleans' 24-7
advantage in the third made it 67-59 entering the fourth.

New Orleans led 73-64 when five points by Mobley sparked a 12-1
run that gave Houston a 76-74 lead with 6:19 left. A 3-point shot
by Baron Davis put the Hornets back in front at 79-76.

But the Rockets responded with 11 straight points -- five by
Mobley -- to lead 87-79 with 2:37 left. The Hornets never threatened

Houston led 9-7 when Francis scored six points in an 11-2
scoring run to give the Rockets a 20-9 lead with 6:13 left in the
first period. Mobley finished with 10 first-quarter points, and
Houston led 33-21.

New Orleans chipped away at the lead in the second period,
pulling to 47-43 after a basket by Mashburn with 1:48 left in the
half. Houston scored the final five points of the half to lead

Yao Ming added 12 points and Eddie Griffin 11 for Houston.

Davis chipped in with 14 points for New Orleans, which got 13
from David Wesley and 11 from Courtney Alexander.

Game notes
New Orleans is 5-2 when Elden Campbell plays 20 or more
minutes and 3-0 when he shoots over .500 ... The Hornets are 15-2
when leading or tied after three quarters ... Houston has held six
opponents to fewer than 80 points this season, matching a franchise
record ... Houston snapped its longest losing streak of the season.
... Yao Ming left the court briefly to change uniform shorts in the
first quarter after blood was discovered on the shorts.