Rockets: Re-visiting Steve Francis’ best March 23rd games

Houston Rockets Steve Francis Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr /Allsport
Houston Rockets Steve Francis Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr /Allsport /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Steve Francis Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport /

1. March 23rd, 2000

During Steve Francis’ rookie season, he instantly became an impact player, as he led the Houston Rockets in points (18 per game) and assists (6.6 per game). The Rockets were clearly undergoing a changing of the guard, as Hakeem Olajuwon was well past his prime and Charles Barkley was in the final year of his Hall of Fame career.

This meant Francis and Cuttino Mobley were the future of the team, and they each finished as the top-two leading scorers on the Rockets that season. Francis finished with a team-high 6.4 total win shares, and a player efficiency rating of 18.4, which was second on the team behind only Barkley.

Francis finished with 17 double-doubles, and scored 20+ points in 30 of the 77 games he played in. Not bad for a rookie, huh? During the Rockets March 23rd game against the LA Clippers, Francis was in his bag, as the Clips simply couldn’t stop him.

Francis had 34 points and 14 assists, which were both season-highs for the eventual Rookie of the Year. Francis made 68.4 percent of his shots, as he went 13-of-19 from the field, and made all three of his long-range attempts. Francis also added three steals and came within one rebound shy of a triple-double, as he finished with nine rebounds.

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Francis had 23 points in the second half, as he helped lift the Rockets to a 110-95 victory over the Clippers. All in all, Francis had a game-high in points and assists, and had the second most rebounds also. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Francis posted a true shooting percentage of 78.6 percent.