HOUSTON, Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia 76ers entered Texas with the NBA's longest winning streak and left it shaking their heads.

NBA TV highlights from
56k | 300k
Steve Francis scored 20 points and rookie Yao Ming had 18 and 12 rebounds as the Houston Rockets posted a 97-72 victory over the 76ers.

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 Center.

"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 coming."

Mobley finished with 16 points and Thomas added 14 for the Rockets, who shot 49 percent (38-of-77) and made 8-of-15 3-pointers.

"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 out there."

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 good."

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 lead.