ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 10 (AP) --
Tony Delk scored nine of his 20 points in the final seven minutes as the Phoenix Suns beat Houston 88-80 on Wednesday night in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Delk and 7-foot-2 Jake Tsakalidis led the Suns on a 15-1 fourth-quarter run that put Phoenix up 81-76 with 3:09 left. Delk had seven points and the 285-pound Tsakalidis four in the run. Delk's two free throws with 28 seconds left made it 86-80.
Walt Williams with 19 points and Steve Francis with 15 led Houston, which was playing its first game since 1983 without center Hakeem Olajuwon. The Rockets traded Olajuwon to Toronto in the off-season.
Kelvin Cato, Olajuwon's apparent successor, scored 10 points and had eight rebounds.
Houston forward Kenny Thomas, who played in college at New Mexico, had a miserable shooting night in his return to the court where he finished as the Lobos' career rebounding leader and second leading scorer.
Thomas was 4-of-16 from the field and finished with nine points. Phoenix reserve center Daniel Santiago, a former teammate of Thomas at New Mexico, fared better. Santiago scored 10 points while playing 13 minutes in the second half.