MIAMI, Dec.16 (Ticker) -- Eddie Jones
did everything possible in the
fourth quarter to help the Miami Heat defeat the Houston
Rockets. But Steve Francis
responded -- twice.
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Francis, Yao, Mobley:
Francis sent the game to overtime with a 3-pointer at the buzzer
and came up with a clutch steal from Jones in the extra session
to help the Rockets edge the Heat, 105-100.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game because they are so
physical," said Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich, whose team
snapped a two-game losing streak. "Veterans have a lot of
respect for (Heat coach Pat Riley's) teams. The Heat played
hard, they played so damn hard."
After Jones nailed a 3-pointer to give the Heat a 100-99 lead
with 42 seconds left in overtime, Cuttino Mobley
put the Rockets
back on top with a layup 14 seconds later.
After a Miami timeout, Mobley knocked the ball free from Jones
at the top of the key. Francis outhustled Jones to the loose
ball on the floor and, on his back, called timeout with 10
made it 103-100 with a pair of free throws with
9.1 seconds remaining, and after a timeout, Mike James
potential tying 3-pointer from the left corner and rookie Yao
concluded the scoring with a pair from the line with 4.8
seconds to play.
"We were still attacking and geting good looks at the end," Heat
rookie Caron Butler
said. "We drew up a play at the end with
Mike James in the corner. He got his feet set, but the ball
just bounced out."
Mobley finished with 27 points, Francis 21 and Griffin, Yao and
15 apiece for the Rockets, who had lost three straight
to the Heat, including a double-overtime thriller here on April
Houston took a 77-63 lead on a dunk by Mobley 16 seconds into
the fourth quarter before Jones scored the game's next 12
bank shot over the 7-5 Yao gave Miami an 89-88
edge with 23 seconds to play. After Francis missed a jumper
with seven seconds left, the ball appeared to go out of bounds
off Heat Butler, but the referees said it went off Mobley.
Jones was fouled and nailed two free throws with five seconds
left to give Miami a 91-88 lead. After a timeout, Yao caught
the inbounds pass and dished to Francis, who circled around the
7-5 rookie and nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer over Brian Grant
to extend the game.
"It was tough, Brian was right there," Francis said. "I got the
ball and going up he might have nipped my hands but I got
enough elevation. Once I went straight up and it left my hands
I knew it was good. We run that play a lot at the end of the
On Friday in Memphis, Francis made a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds
left to force overtime, but the Rockets eventually lost.
"We had the play, we diagrammed it," Heat coach Pat Riley said.
"They did the same play last week against Memphis to tie it, the
exact same play, so we had it but we just didn't go hard enough
on it. We were supposed to switch the original 3-1 screen but
we didn't. We got caught behind it and even though Brian was on
him, he just made a great shot."
"We knew exactly what they were going to run," Jones said. "We
saw it about four or five times on the edit tape. Brian was all
over him and he hit a tough shot. You have to give him credit
for hitting a tough shot."
In addition to setting the screen on the final play in
regulation, Yao made 5-of-6 shots, grabbed 12 rebounds and had
"We've used that play several times," Yao said through an
interpreter. "Maybe we should chance it up and I should shoot
"He's a tree," said Butler, who unsuccessfully attempted to dunk
over Yao twice. "He's a big dude. His wing span is like eight
feet. He played hard. I kept attacking him (but) he hit me
good a couple of times."
Jones, who scored 15 of his career-high 38 points in the fourth
quarter of a win over Golden State on Friday, contributed 17 of
his 32 in the fourth period in this one. It was the most points
by any Miami player in any quarter this season. Jones also
chipped in 10 rebounds, seven assists and a season-high six
steals in the loss.
Butler added 18 points and eight rebounds and Grant 16 and eight
for the Heat, who had all five starters reach double figures
but received just 11 points from their bench.
Houston made 22-of-28 free throws and outrebounded Miami, 54-40.
"We knew they were going to make a run but we clawed back and
made some big plays," Mobley said. "We had a talk after those
two losses that we needed to step up and make plays. Yao, Kenny
, everbody all played (well) tonight."
"This was a heck of a game for both the fans and coaches,"
Tomjanovich said. "For the coaches, games like this take days
and years off your life."