Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/15

Game 1: Friday, November 15th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 15th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 19th
Game 4: Sunday, March 16th

Rockets 107


Suns 89

(30-24, 21-7 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 19, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 18 32 27 30107
    PHX 22 18 21 2889

    Top Performers

    Houston: C. Mobley 22 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Phoenix: S. Marion 24 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Rockets shoot down Suns behind Rice, Mobley

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Less than 24 hours after a double-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets displayed some resilience behind the shooting of Glen Rice.

    Rice made seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points, Cuttino Mobley scored 22 and Yao Ming outdueled Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire, his primary competition for Rookie of the Year, and Houston beat the Suns 107-89 Wednesday night.

    "This was a big win considering the devastation of last night,'' coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We were heartbroken on that, and we talked about not feeling like victims and how you've got to move on. I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys.''

    Eddie Griffin contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Rockets to a 57-32 rebounding advantage, and the bench contributed 47 points.

    The Rockets' reserves outscored Phoenix 21-18 in the second quarter, when Houston went from a 22-18 deficit to a 50-40 halftime lead.

    Rice, who played his second game after missing four weeks with a shoulder injury, tied his season high for points. Maurice Taylor added 13 points and Moochie Norris 11 as the Rockets snapped a two-game skid.

    "It's a sense of urgency, man,'' Mobley said. "We always play good when our backs are against the wall. Moochie, Mo Taylor, the bench came in and carried us.''

    Shawn Marion had 24 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix. Stephon Marbury had 22 points and Joe Johnson scored 14.

    Yao, denied a rematch with Shaquille O'Neal the night before in Los Angeles, had 12 points and 12 rebounds in his second game against Stoudemire, the only rookie to make the jump from high school this season.

    Stoudemire is a power forward, so it wasn't a center-on-center matchup like the one anticipated Tuesday night until O'Neal sat out. But it drew interest as a test of first-year impact players.

    "His body seems like he's 28 years old, not 20,'' Yao said.

    Stoudemire had 24 points and 13 rebounds to Yao's 11 and seven on Jan. 15 in Houston, but Stoudemire managed just 11 points and three rebounds this time.

    Rice, activated Tuesday after being on the injured list since Jan. 13 with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, was 7-of-8 on 3-pointers, making his first six.

    He laughed when asked if he was surprised at his accuracy, but admitted that he didn't understand why he was open.

    "That surprised me a lot. If you do that, I'll take it,'' Rice said.

    His fifth 3-pointer sent Houston to an 88-62 lead with 9:22 left in the game.

    Marion responded with three 3-pointers in 1:26, eventually cutting the Suns' deficit to 91-74 with 7:01 to play, but Phoenix couldn't sustain the threat.

    Houston outscored the Suns 58-33 through the second quarter and most of the third after falling behind 20-12 in the first.

    Griffin sent the Rockets to a 70-53 lead when he stole the ball as Stoudemire was coming down with a defensive rebound and laid it in with 2:57 left in the third period.

    "It was just one of those nights,'' Stoudemire said. "I mean, they got a lot of long rebounds. They've got perimeter guys that can jump pretty high. They had, I think, 22 offensive boards. That was key.''

    Norris made three jumpers before his layup capped a 14-5 run that gave Houston a 26-25 lead, its first of the game, with 8:59 left in the second quarter.

    Then Rice, who didn't get in until the final 42 seconds of the first quarter, found his range. He popped three 3-pointers in a 2:22 span.

    Steve Francis' 3-pointer at the buzzer opened the 10-point halftime lead.

    "Very disappointing,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said. "It looked as though we were the ones that got in at 3 in the morning from a game last night.''

    Game notes

    Rice, the fourth-best long-range sniper in NBA history, has 1,504 3-pointers in 3,749 tries. ... Francis had five points before leaving the game after his lower back tightened up. ... Suns F Tom Gugliotta (broken foot), out since the 10th game, began practicing this week and will be activated from the injured list Friday at Toronto. ... Houston is 17-17 vs. the Western Conference; the Suns are 16-16. ... In eight previous games between the teams, the biggest margin of victory was seven points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 107 89
    FGM-FGA 37-84 (.440) 31-76 (.408)
    3PM-3PA 11-23 (.478) 5-17 (.294)
    FTM-FTA 22-26 (.846) 22-27 (.815)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 22-57 8-32
    Assists 18 15
    Turnovers 17 12
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 8 4
    Fast Break Points 1 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (2/0) 22 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Cuttino Mobley Mobley
    Points: 22
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 24
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1