Dec 31, 2001 1:28 PM EST
Kenny Thomas returned to the starting lineup and Steve Francis returned to the court. But after most of one game, they both left again.
This time, the maladies should not cost more than one game. After playing Friday for the first time since Nov. 25, Francis was forced to miss Sunday's game against the Lakers with the flu.
Thomas missed three games with a sore groin and came off the bench in one game before starting and scoring 20 points with 13 rebounds at Golden State. But he suffered a hip pointer that forced him to miss Sunday's game.
Dec 31, 2001 1:24 PM EST
Bryant removed the scorer the Rockets could not afford to lose, and the Rockets crashed to a 114-90 defeat worthy of their departed 15-game losing streak.
"He's just a good defender, he really is," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said of Bryant. "I've watched him play a lot of different guys. He's so athletic. He played a smart defensive game and they helped well."
That was what it took. And there were shots Mobley normally makes and had knocked down regularly in three consecutive 30-point nights leading to Sunday.
Dec 30, 2001 2:59 PM EST
With so many head coaches burning up and flaming out this season -- Jeff Van Gundy, Dave Cowens, Dan Issel and Tim Floyd are out and Pat Riley, Scott Skiles, Maurice Cheeks, Larry Brown and Lon Kruger are simmering -- maybe it's time to shed a little light on a guy who actually loves the job.
How about Rudy Tomjanovich? His Rockets have been utterly decimated by injuries this season. He has suffered through the worst losing streak of his career (15 games). In just three years he has gone from coaching three Hall-of-Famers (Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler) to coaching the likes of Kelvin Cato, Walt Williams and Oscar Torres.
Yet, there isn't even the slightest hint that he is losing his mind, or his sense of humor.
"Believe me, I feel blessed," he said. "This is a crazy, chaotic business and I've had a stable career as a player and as a coach."
Dec 30, 2001 1:40 PM EST
After leading the Cougars to back-to-back NCAA championship game appearances, he topped that by winning consecutive NBA titles with the Rockets, and he came to be known as the Dream somewhere along his special journey into the hearts of Houston sports fans.
And then one day, Olajuwon and his following woke up and the dream was over, the result of a contract dispute that led to a trade to Toronto in the biggest local sports story of 2001, not to mention one of the most regrettable days in Houston sports history.
Dec 30, 2001 1:37 PM EST
The Rockets may go to battle with the Lakers without Kenny Thomas' help, who got a hip pointer in the Golden State victory. However, Steve Francis should get increased playing time.
Also Mobley has scored over 30 points in each of the last three games. Part of the reason may be that Mobley is now receiving the ball at the elbow where it is harder to bring a double-team.
Dec 30, 2001 1:32 PM EST
"Jim was telling me I was playing so hard and trying to do so well I was focusing on minor little mistakes," Norris said. "Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. When I make them, don't dwell on them. Acknowledge that I made the mistake, recognize it, get over it, come back and make a better play."
More than the little mistakes that occur every game had begun to weigh on Norris. As the Rockets' losing streak mushroomed with Norris at the helm of the offense, he obsessed on everything that had gone wrong. It was a long list.
Norris already had found himself trying to prove that he deserved his new contract, potentially worth as much as $22.73 million over six years.
Dec 29, 2001 9:54 AM EST
Before Friday's game in Golden State, the Rockets activated Steve Francis, who had been out a month with injury, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Dan Langhi was placed on the injured list with an 'injured' left ankle to clear a spot on the active roster.
Lotto draft pick Eddie Griffin also lost his starting position to Kenny Thomas in that game. Griffin became a starter when Thomas went down with injury. He kept the spot for one game after Thomas got back, but that was a 'special circumstance' explains Rudy Tomjanovich. The coach wouldn't let someone lose his starting spot for being injured.
Dec 29, 2001 9:48 AM EST
What a welcome sight this was.
Steve Francis, absent from 16 of the last 17 games due to injury (and conveniently the Rockets were 1-15 in those affairs), made his big return, but he was the sidebar to the real show.
Cuttino Mobley scored 31 points, his third straight game of 30+, to lead the Rockets to the 100-93 win over the Warriors in Oakland Friday night. After 15 straight losses, it's the Rockets second win in their last 3 games, upping their record to 9-21. Houston has also won 16 of their last 17 road games against Golden State.
Dec 28, 2001 1:03 PM EST
Rockets center Kevin Willis did not leave Denver on good terms with then-Nuggets president and coach Dan Issel. But he did not like seeing Issel's fall, believing Issel succumbed to pressure after making an inappropriate racial remark to a fan. That led to Wednesday's resignation.
Dec 28, 2001 1:00 PM EST
Steve Francis will play his first game in a month tonight against Golden State, reports the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. The Rockets, who have won only one game in his absence, have been hurting without the man who leads them in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Rudy Tomajanovich plans to bring him in slowly, limiting him to 10 to 15 minutes in tonight's game.
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Dec 17, 2001
What else can happen to the hapless Rockets?
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