HOUSTON, Dec. 10 (Ticker) -- Steve Francis scored 32 points and rookie Yao Ming collected 17 and 15 rebounds as the Houston Rockets ended a nine-game losing streak against the Sacramento Kings with a 103-96 victory.

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Francis scored 16 points in the first half as the Rockets took a 62-45 lead after 24 minutes. Houston led 33-28 midway through the second quarter before using a 19-10 run to to build a 14-point cushion with three minutes left in the half.

Despite battling flu-like symptoms, Yao collected his fourth straight double-double. He capped another solid night by hitting a pair of clutch shots in the fourth quarter, helping to stem the tide after a 12-2 run by the Kings got them within 89-84 with 5:17 remaining.

"Steve has been talking to me and telling me to play more physical," Yao said through an interpreter. "I'm trying to do that more. So he is a great player to play with and I'm getting more used to playing with him."

The Rockets took an 81-71 lead into the fourth, but missed 13 of their first 16 shots before the 7-5 center hit a five-foot hook shot and a short jumper on Houston's next two possessions to extend its lead to 93-84 with 3:41 left.

While Houston was cold early on in the final quarter, Sacramento missed an opportunity to take the lead. The Kings missed their first six shots of the period before Chris Webber's jumper at 8:19 started the 12-2 burst.

Webber's basket off a turnover by Yao with 4:56 left got Sacramento within 89-84. The Kings had a chance to get even closer after Keon Clark intercepted Yao's pass on Houston's next possession, but Moochie Norris stole the ball from Clark and Yao scored the first of his back-to-back baskets.

Webber scored 30 points for the Kings, who shot 44 percent (41-of-93), but made just 2-of-16 3-point attempts. Sacramento lost to Houston for the first time since March 2, 2000.

Webber scored 19 points in the second half and Bobby Jackson finished with 27. But the Rockets held Doug Christie to six points and limited Peja Stojakovic to five in his first game back after missing nine games with a heel injury.

Sacramento trailed just 35-30 following Jackson's jump shot at 8:02 of the second quarter, but Eddie Griffin scored eight of Houston's next 10 points, opening a 45-34 advantage with 6:10 to play.

Griffin hit his third three-pointer of the game with 4:36 left in the first half, extending Houston's cushion to 50-36. Francis converted consecutive reverse layups to give the Rockets an 18-point lead with 1:58 remaining.

The Rockets shot 60 percent (12-of-20) in the second quarter, while the Kings shot just 42 percent (10-of-24) and missed 13 of their final 17 shots.

"We had a poor second quarter," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "We just didn't play defense. We tried to come back but we just got too far down. Houston played a great game tonight and it looks like they are a playoff team for sure."

"Like I said before, winning big against a big team is what we needed to do," Francis said. "We're still trying to learn how to win and this is a good start. We still have a ways to go, but we played a great defensive game tonight and that's what we needed to do to beat this team."

Sacramento shot 57 percent in the third quarter and cut the deficit to single digits numerous times. The Kings were within 66-60 following a three-point play by Webber midway through the quarter. But Francis converted a driving layup and a three-pointer from the right side before Glen Rice and Yao had consecutive uncontested dunks to restore Houston's double-digit lead.

"It was a great win against a team that's really handed it to us in the past," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "They've had us for a long time. We knew they would make a run and they did. We talked about it before the third quarter, but all the things you don't do, we did. We went cold and they took advantage of it. Fortunately we were able to recover."