HOUSTON (AP) -- Cuttino Mobley didn't wait very long to take
matters into his own hands.
With the Rockets leading 23-21 early in the second quarter,
Mobley scored 13 straight points as part of a 17-4 surge that put
Houston in control.
"For a minute, everything felt good," Mobley said. "I don't
pay attention to that (13 in a row). When you're in a groove,
you're in a groove."
Mobley's run included three straight 3-point baskets, a layup
following a steal by Mark Jackson and a 12-foot jumper. Houston
outscored the Hornets 28-13 in the second-quarter breakaway. Mobley
was 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
"It was nice to get Cuttino back playing effectively, he's been
struggling for a few games," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
"We need our best, most efficient scorers to play efficiently
"Over the last five or six games, he's really struggled
shooting. We need his shooting. He did a good job of shooting
Mobley has been bothered by a sore lower back sustained against
the Lakers on March 3.
Mobley hit a 3-pointer and a basket to start the fourth quarter,
when the Rockets took a 20-point lead. But they had to hold off a
mild charge led by Baron Davis, who scored 16 of his 30 points over
the final 6:38. New Orleans got the deficit down to seven with 51
seconds to play.
"We had a 13-point (second) quarter and on the other end we
never found an answer for Mobley and Steve Francis," New Orleans
coach Tim Floyd said. "The first half we weren't able to penetrate
on offense and in the second half they made us guard Yao (Ming)
down low and we never got their guards under control."
The Rockets rode Mobley's big second quarter to a 49-34 halftime
lead and, despite eight third-quarter points by P.J. Brown, Houston
kept the big lead, 73-56 going into the fourth quarter.
Steve Francis and Jim Jackson each had 19 points for the
"He (Mobley) was really good, not only him but everybody who
got the ball, but he was great," Francis said.
Yao Ming had four points, a blocked shot and two fouls in the
first five minutes of the game. He sat out the rest of the opening
period, and New Orleans outscored Houston 8-4 over the closing
minutes for a 21-21 tie. Yao finished with 17 points and five
"We moved the ball and played the game the way we're supposed
to play," Yao said. "Our spacing was good and Cuttino was playing
Yao presented problems for New Orleans' defense.
"His ability to change shots can have a big impact on the
game," Floyd said. "Yao is a young guy who's getting better and
better, and their guards recognize his importance. They know they
have to play through him."
The Rockets have a winning record each month this season
for the first time since 1993-94, when they won the first of
back-to-back NBA championships. ... The Hornets have a 3-12 record
in Houston. ... The Rockets have a 28-6 record this season when
leading after the first quarter. ... Injuries have forced the
Hornets to use 10 different starting lineups this season. ...
Maurice Taylor left in the third quarter with a sore left knee.
Taylor said he expects to play on Saturday.