HOUSTON, Nov. 9 (Ticker) --
On a night when the Houston Rockets honored the greatest player in franchise history, they were carried to victory by "Stevie Franchise."
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scored 31 points, including a clutch three-pointer and two free throws down the stretch, as the Rockets celebrated a big night for Hakeem Olajuwon by holding on for a 111-104 triumph over the sliding Golden State Warriors.
Olajuwon, one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players and the leader of the Rockets squads that won championships in 1994 and 1995, had his No. 34 retired as it was hoisted to the rafters of the Compaq Centre in an emotional halftime ceremony.
"You could feel the electricity," Francis said. "As long as I play in Houston, that is something I will remember."
The club's all-time leader in virtually every statistical category, the aging Olajuwon was dealt to Toronto after the
2000-01 season. That gave the reins of the team to Francis, an explosive guard who made the All-Star team for the first time
last season and signed an $84 million contract extension this summer.
Francis had a small hand in a 14-0 run late in the second quarter that gave the Rockets the lead for good. He scored 15
straight Houston points in the third quarter, single-handedly stemming a rally by Golden State.
"He stayed around through the third quarter," Francis said. "I thought he would leave at halftime. He gave me a couple of
winks after I hit a couple of jumpers."
After two free throws by Jason Richardson pulled the Warriors within 101-99 with 1:19 to play, Francis drilled a three-pointer with 1:06 left. He added two free throws for a 106-101 lead with 41 seconds to go, and Golden State got no closer.
"It would have been disgraceful to lose this game," Francis said.
"Francis took over in the second half," Warriors coach Eric Musselman said. "That's what the great ones do."
Cuttino Mobley scored 25 points and Kenny Thomas added 20 and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who won four of the last five meetings with the Warriors.
Richardson had 28 points and 13 rebounds and backcourt mate Gilbert Arenas had 28 and 10 assists for Golden State, which has lost six in a row since surprising San Antonio on opening night.
"It's great to grow, but we need to win," Richardson said. "It's frustrating, because we want to finish games and we are
tired of being close and still losing. We have to learn how to win games."
The Warriors held a 44-35 lead before the Rockets rattled off 14 straight points. Thomas had six in a row before a fast-break dunk by rookie Juaquin Hawkins capped it at 49-44 with 1:47 left in the second quarter.
A three-pointer and basket by Eddie Griffin completed a 9-0 run that opened the third quarter and gave Houston a 59-48 lead with 9:31 remaining. Francis carried the offense for the rest of the period, but Golden State rallied within 78-73 entering the final 12 minutes.
"We had a great team effort," Tomjanovich said. "In the second half, Steve really got going."
Griffin scored 13 points for Houston, which shot 45.5 percent (40-of-88) from the field and committed just nine turnovers.
Erick Dampier had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks and Antawn Jamison scored 21 points for Golden State. But Troy Murphy (four points) was the only other Warrior to score as six reserves were shut out.