HOUSTON, Dec. 7 (Ticker) --
The Philadelphia 76ers entered Texas with
the NBA's longest winning streak and left it shaking their
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scored 20 points and rookie Yao Ming
had 18 and 12
rebounds as the Houston Rockets posted a 97-72 victory over the
Philadelphia entered Friday's game at San Antonio having won 11
of its previous 12 games, including eight in a row. But the
Sixers struggled in a loss to the Spurs and have their first
losing streak of the season after another uninspired effort
against the Rockets.
"After you win eight straight, your confidence is so high,"
Philadelphia's Allen Iverson said. "You lose two in a row and
it's just a reality check."
Houston led the entire second half but saw its advantage trimmed
to 52-49 after Philadelphia's Keith Van Horn made a layup with
8:31 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets scored six straight points to regain control. Kenny
Thomas made two free throws and Cuttino Mobley made consecutive
layups for a 58-49 lead with 7:17 to go.
Philadelphia climbed within 62-58 3:12 later, but Yao buried a
12-foot jumper and Francis a 3-pointer. The Rockets carried
a 71-62 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Francis scored eight points and Yao added six in the fourth as
Houston cruised to its fifth straight victory at the Compaq
"We've been making less mistakes overall," Houston coach Rudy
Tomjanovich said. "We've really been trying to cut back on
those, especially ones that lead to turnovers. You can't just
start the season and be a complete team, but the chemistry is
Mobley finished with 16 points and Thomas added 14 for the
Rockets, who shot 49 percent (38-of-77) and made 8-of-15
"It was good to get the win and hopefully we can go from here,"
said Mobley, who missed the previous eight games with a foot
injury. "I was just happy to get back out there. I've been
watching these guys play and I just couldn't wait to get back
Van Horn finished with 15 points, but Iverson struggled for the
second straight game. After making just 9-of-30 shots Friday,
Iverson managed just 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting.
"Tonight, we didn't lose because of Allen," Sixers coach Larry
Brown said. "He didn't have a good game, but nobody else really
did, either. As a team we just want to win and we want to play
Eric Snow had 10 points and seven assists and Derrick Coleman
scored 10 points off the bench for the Sixers, who shot just 38
percent (29-of-77) from the floor in their lowest scoring game
of the season.
"We just couldn't get any consistency on defense or offense,"
Iverson said. "We had a bad second half and a bad game, period.
I stunk up the gym two games in a row now. I've been sluggish
and we've been sluggish as a whole."
Houston's Glen Rice scored all 10 of his points in the first
quarter, which saw seven ties and a pair of lead changes. The
games was tied at 23-23 entering the second and the Rockets took
the lead for good at 31-29 on Eddie Griffin's 3-pointer with
nine minutes left.
Houston was clinging to a 41-40 lead with 2:50 to go before
scoring the final seven points of the first half. Yao had a
three-point play during the spurt and Kelvin Cato capped it with
a pair of free throws to give the Rockets a 48-40 halftime