CHICAGO, Jan. 26 (Ticker) --
The Chicago Bulls' home winning streak
continues, thanks to Marcus Fizer
NBA TV highlights from|
The brawny power forward muscled in a hook shot with 0.4 seconds
remaining, lifting the Bulls to a 100-98 victory over the
Houston Rockets, who lost their season-high fourth straight
"It was big for us," Fizer said of the win. "We have been
playing well at home. ... It's huge, a confidence builder."
It was the Bulls' fifth consecutive home victory and improved
their mark at the United Center to 15-7. Chicago is an abysmal
2-20 on the road.
"Now it is time for us to carry this on the road," Bulls coach
Bill Cartwright said. "We have to come out of the blocks and
not wait until we get slapped in the face to get after it. We
do it here at home and we do a much better job of it. We get
after them right away."
The Rockets trailed, 98-93, before Steve Francis
sank a pair of
free throws with 53 seconds remaining. After a stop, Cuttino
made a layup and free throw with 12 seconds left to tie
The Bulls called timeout and set up a final play for Jalen Rose
who scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. But Rose
lost the ball in the paint, and it appeared that the game would
go into overtime.
The 6-8, 260-pound Fizer ripped the loose ball from Eddie
and lofted a hook that dropped through the net, sending
the crowd into a frenzy.
"That last play was just a fluke," Francis said. "Give (Fizer)
credit, as he was able to get it out of there and up. I had my
hand on the ball, too. It just goes to show that you can play
the right way for 48 minutes and still lose on a fluke. Today
we just beat ourselves."
"I thought they did a good job running down the loose balls,"
Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "Fizer did that and then
also had that strong play at the end."
After a timeout, Francis lobbed an inbounds pass to Kelvin Cato
at the rim. But Rose broke up the pass, and the clock ran out.
"It's a big-time win for the team," Rose said. "It's not only
our fifth win in a row at home, it establishes a pattern of
success and that's not something some of the players around here
are used to."
collected 17 points and 10 rebounds before
fouling out in the final seconds and Fizer added 12 points off
the bench for the Bulls, who won despite some sloppiness. Coming
off a season-low nine turnovers in Friday's win over
Washington, Chicago committed 16 that Houston converted into 28
Francis led Houston with 26 points but made just 9-of-26 shots.
Mobley added 19 points and rookie Yao Ming
14 for the Rockets,
who dropped their fourth straight road contest and fell to 6-13
away from the Compaq Center.
The Rockets closed the first half on a 23-9 run to take a 57-49
edge into the break. The Bulls opened the second half with a
14-0 run and maintained their lead until a layup by Francis gave
the Rockets an 82-81 lead with 8:24 to play.
"We came out (of halftime) extremely focused," Fizer said. "We
let them back in a few times, we let them get a few runs, but we
were able to keep our focus."
"We didn't come out in that second half, especially as we were
at the close of that first half," Francis said. "I don't think
it was anything that they did. We just came out in that third
quarter very lackadaisical."
The Bulls shot a season-high 95 percent from the line
(19-of-20). The Rockets connected on only 68 percent
"We shot 38 free throws, which is definitely a positive,"
Tomjanovich said. "But we only hit 68 percent of them. That
just killed us. You have a positive offensive possession, but
then you're not getting anything out of it."