Rockets 82, Bulls 80

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HOUSTON (AP)—What Jim Jackson’s game-winning shot lacked in form, it made up for in effectiveness.

“It was an off-balance fadeaway after he pumped. I couldn’t believe he made it,” Chicago’s Jamal Crawford said after Jackson’s 22-footer at the buzzer gave the Houston Rockets an 82-80 victory over the Bulls on Friday night.

“Losing like that, on a shot like that, is tough to swallow,” Crawford added.

Yao Ming led Houston with 22 points, followed by Jackson with 14, Cuttino Mobley with 13 and Steve Francis with 11.

Eddy Curry was the top scorer for Chicago with 21 points. Crawford added 15, Hinrich 13, Antonio Davis 12 and Eddie Robinson 11.

Houston led 62-48 going into the fourth period as the Bulls managed only 11 third-quarter points.

Chicago outscored Houston 22-5 to open the fourth quarter and took its first lead since the first period, 70-69, with 4:42 left. Crawford had 11 points and Curry had nine during the run.

The lead changed hands five times and was tied once before a three-point play by Kelvin Cato with 1:25 left gave Houston an 80-77 advantage. A basket by Antonio Davis tied the game, 80-80, with 12 seconds left, before Jackson’s game-winning shot over Jerome Williams.

“The play was for Cuttino Mobley. We gave the ball to him and let him either create a shot or find someone open,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “It was an unselfish play by Cuttino and Jimmy knocked down a big shot.”

Jackson was expecting to have a chance.

“I know people at the end of a game like this one will be watching the ball instead of watching the man. Jerome Williams was watching Cuttino so I knew I would get the shot,” Jackson explained. “Cuttino gave it up at the right time.”

Houston opened the second half by outscoring Chicago 15-3 to move ahead 56-40.

After trailing by as many as seven, Houston scored the final 10 points of the first period to lead 26-23.

The Rockets led 32-25, their biggest lead of the first half, afterconsecutive baskets by Clarence Weatherspoon. Houston led 41-37 at the half.

Notes

: Houston is 20-9 this season when Francis has more than five assists and 8-11 when he has five or less … Houston is 22-5 when leading after the first period and 5-15 when trailing after the first period … Crawford reached double figures in scoring for 32nd time in Chicago’s last 38 games … Chicago is 1-13 on the road against Western Conference teams and 2-21 overall on theroad.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Chicago
K. Hinrich K. Hinrich
5-13,  13 Pts
3 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Houston
J. Jackson J. Jackson
5-15,  14 Pts
10 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists