SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 12 (Ticker) -- Steve Francis' quick start helped the Houston Rockets return the favor on the road.

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Francis scored 25 of his 36 points in the first half as the Rockets rebounded with a record-setting 106-76 victory over the Utah Jazz in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Houston won a regular-season game in the Delta Center for the first time since November 4, 1996, ending an 11-game skid. The Rockets did it with their largest victory margin in the 142-game all-time series.

"It was good to get a win after last night (when) we really thought we had the game in the bag," Francis said.

On Tuesday, the Rockets suffered a 103-101 overtime loss at home to the Jazz, allowing Matt Harpring to make a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

Francis scored 28 points in the loss and wasted no time helping the Rockets get even on the Jazz's court. The All-Star scored 16 points in the first quarter, helping Houston race to a 26-18 lead. He had a free throw and jumper to open the second period and push the lead to double digits.

"When the shots were there, I was taking them," said Francis, who was 11-of-19 from the field and 11-of-13 from the line. "I've been like that all season. If they're not, then I'm not going to take them."

Late in the first half, Francis found Cuttino Mobley for a hoop, then dunked for a 50-37 lead. His two free throws sent Houston to the locker room with a 52-40 lead.

"I think we needed to come out and set a tone against this team," Francis said. "They're a real veteran, savvy team. They really know how to win late in the game, especially at home. We had to come out and play hard."

Francis scored 11 more points in the third quarter as the Rockets limited the Jazz to 19 points and opened an 81-59 lead entering the final period.

"We had no answer to Francis tonight," Jazz acting coach Phil Johnson said. "He was just sensational. He just took over the game. We really had a hard time with him, especially in the first half."

Francis did not score in the fourth quarter, although he threw an alley-oop pass for a dunk by Maurice Taylor that gave Houston a 96-69 lead with just over five minutes to go. After that, he took a seat on the bench.

"It's important that this team play 48 minutes of good basketball," Francis said.

"He was phenomenal," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "He was our leader out there."

Rookie sensation Yao Ming scored 15 points and Taylor and James Posey added 13 apiece for the Rockets, who shot 53 percent (40-of-76).

"Tonight was definitely the most complete game we played, especially in terms of our energy level and our ability to maintain our poise," Yao said through an interpreter.

Houston (27-23) snapped a three-game slide and remained one-half game ahead of the surging Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 15 points and Karl Malone added 13 for the Jazz, who shot just 38 percent (27-of-71) and looked nothing like the squad that relies on teamwork for its success.

"You got a guy that's hot like Francis was tonight, who's one of the top players in the league, you've got to come off and help, and when you help somebody has got to come over and help you," Jazz forward Scott Padgett said. "If we had 80 opportunities to do it, we might have done it three or four times. You can't win like that."

Malone made just 4-of-12 shots. He suffered a broken nose in Tuesday's win and played without any sort of protection. That proved costly when he was accidentally hit in the nose by teammate John Amaechi in the final minute of the first half.

Utah went 4-3 under Johnson, an assistant who has filled in for the suspended Jerry Sloan. After a seven-game ban, Sloan will return Friday against Washington.

"I was looking forward to that the day he left," Johnson said. "It is tough to end with this, but you have to give our guys credit. We have had a tough little stretch here and except for this game, we have played very well."