Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Friday, December 6th
Game 2: Sunday, December 29th

Hornets 85

(18-14, 7-12 away)

Rockets 97


    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, December 29, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 21 22 24 1885
    HOU 33 19 7 3897

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Mashburn 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Hou: C. Mobley 24 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    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.

    Sharks retiring Yao's No. 15
    HOUSTON -- Rockets center Yao Ming is slated to be the first athlete in Chinese history to have his jersey number retired.

    Yao's former team, the Shanghai Sharks, will retire his No. 15 on Jan. 5.

    "There are a lot of athletes in the history of China that are qualified to have their numbers retired as well. So I feel fortunate to be the first,'' Yao said in an interview Sunday with Houston television station KRIV.

    But Yao did find one downside to the honor.

    "My father also wore the No. 15 when he played. I guess the only thing I feel sorry about is that my son might not be able to wear the number,'' Yao said through an interpreter.

    --Associated Press

    "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 quarter.''

    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 again.

    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 52-43.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 97
    FGM-FGA 35-85 (.412) 36-81 (.444)
    3PM-3PA 3-8 (.375) 4-16 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 12-17 (.706) 21-29 (.724)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-45 11-45
    Assists 7 16
    Turnovers 14 11
    Steals 4 6
    Blocks 5 9
    Fast Break Points 7 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (2/1) 20 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Jamal Mashburn Mashburn
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 24
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3