HOUSTON, Nov. 2 (Ticker) --
The Toronto Raptors may have lost a lot more than two games on their trip to Texas.
Steve Francis had 28 points and eight rebounds and Cuttino Mobley scored 20 points as the Houston Rockets rolled to an
88-76 victory over the Raptors, who lost starters Vince Carter and Antonio Davis to injuries.
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Toronto was dealt its first setback of the season Friday in San Antonio and had little success against Houston after losing
Carter, who strained the quadriceps tendon above his left knee less that six minutes into the game.
Carter, who had surgery on the same knee last March, will be re-evaluated Sunday.
Cuttino Mobley is averaging 23.7 points over the first three games.|
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"I don't know how I hurt it, it really hurts," he said. "I was running down the court and I just couldn't go. It's about the
same as last year. I knew when it happened what it was. It's not a good feeling at all."
"It's very disappointing when you don't know the status of your best player," Toronto's Morris Peterson said. "Hopefully it won't be too bad."
The Raptors were dealt another blow in the third quarter when Davis left with a strained left rib cage.
The Rockets had a 50-39 halftime lead and pulled away with a 22-7 run to open the third quarter. Francis had nine points and
three assists during the burst and Chinese rookie Yao Ming capped it with a hook shot to give Houston its largest lead at 72-46 with 1:55 to go.
"Steve was doing this and doing that -- he was a warrior," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He really took over the
game in the third quarter."
Yao played 24 minutes and had eight points on 4-of-7 shooting and four rebounds. He entered the game to a standing ovation
with 8:18 to go in the first quarter and scored his second NBA basket three minutes later.
"(The standing ovation) made me feel great. I'm really thankful for that," he said through an interpreter. "I was definitely
more relaxed and involved in the game tonight. Still a lot of things I have to work on."
"He gets to practice early and he wants to learn how to get better," Francis said of Yao. "Basketball is basketball. He
plays hard, he's just like me -- except he's 7-6 and Chinese."
Eddie Griffin added 10 points and nine rebounds and Kelvin Cato grabbed 11 boards for the Rockets, who shot 46 percent
(36-of-78) from the floor and held the Raptors to 35 percent (28-of-79).
Lindsey Hunter scored 17 points off the bench and Peterson had 16 and seven rebounds for Toronto, which has lost two in a row since opening the season with a victory over Washington.
Mobley scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in the first quarter as Houston jumped to a 29-20 lead. The Rockets had a
38-33 edge in the second quarter before scoring eight consecutive points.
Cato had an alley-oop dunk, Francis followed with a jump shot and Kenny Thomas and Mobley sank consecutive jumpers to give Houston a 46-33 cushion with 85 seconds left.