DENVER, Nov. 1 (Ticker) -- In danger of losing to the Denver Nuggets, the Houston Rockets put up their guards.

Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley took over down the stretch as the Rockets used a late surge to pull away for an 83-74 victory over the Nuggets.

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With three injured forwards in Glen Rice, Kenny Thomas and Maurice Taylor and the inexperienced Eddie Griffin and Yao Ming manning the front line, the Rockets heavily rely on Francis and Mobley, who can break down defenses with dribble penetration.

The duo combined for 50 shots and 61 points in Wednesday's loss at Indiana and took over the offense again Friday, combining for 14 of Houston's last 17 points.

WIth a double-double on Friday, Steve Francis has opened the season on fire.
Garrett W. Ellwood
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Coming off a career-high 39-point performance, Francis had 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Mobley scored 29 points, playing all but one minute.

In the final five minutes, Francis and Mobley took advantage of Nuggets playmakers Chris Whitney and Kenny Satterfield. Whitney, a career backup acquired last week, twice was beaten to loose balls by Francis. Satterfield, a second-year player, committed a bad foul and missed a dunk.