OAKLAND, March 21 (Ticker) -- Steve Francis
persisted in his
effort to drag the Houston Rockets into the playoffs.
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Francis recorded his first triple-double of the season and
rookie Yao Ming
drilled his first career 3-pointer as the
Rockets continued their road dominance of the Golden State
Warriors with a 117-107 victory.
The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Francis had
13 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 12 assists as the
Rockets extended their road winning streak against the Warriors
to 15 games.
Francis registered his sixth career triple-double and helped
Houston remain unbeaten in Oakland since March 7, 1996.
"I thought tonight we played together as a team," Francis said.
"It was tough at times, even when we got the big lead, because
NBA teams are going to make a run. They made one and we were
able to somewhat keep our composure and hit shots down the
Yao's 3-pointer secured the win with 43 seconds left. Francis
drove the lane and hurled an over-the-shoulder pass to the
wide-open 7-6 center. From near the top of the arc, Yao drained
the shot to give Houston a 113-102 lead.
"Suddenly, I had the ball and I just had to shoot it," Yao said.
"I don't think I need to shoot those because we have a lot of
good shooters on this team."
A trio of Rockets had 20-point performances. Yao had 23, 14
rebounds and four blocks, Cuttino Mobley
led the way with 26 and
added 21 on 7-of-9 shooting as Houston snapped a
The Rockets remain tied with Phoenix for eighth place in the
Western Conference playoff race, while the Warriors slipped 3
1/2 games off the pace.
"We need to win," Francis said. "We're pressed to win and we're
hungry every game. Sometimes we lack coming out hard and
that's what we need to do."
scored 25 points and Antawn Jamison
added 21, but
the Warriors lost for the sixth time in nine games.
"We played uptight the whole night," Jamison said.
"Defensively, we were lackadaisical and we kind of went through
Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich missed a third straight game
after doctors discovered a cancerous tumor on the lining of his
bladder. He is expected to miss the rest of the five-game road
trip, which the Rockets have started 1-2.
"Right now, every win is a big win," assistant coach Larry Smith
said. "We are in the playoff hunt and we have got to try to
keep winning ballgames. Hopefully, we can continue to do so."
The Rockets led by six with 6:20 left in the third when Francis
hit a jumper to ignite a 13-0 run.
Posey converted a three-point play with 5:52 to go as Houston
increased its advantage to 70-59.
dunked before Mobley hit a fadeaway jumper with
just under five minutes remaining to open a 74-59 cushion for
Mobley continued his mastery of Golden State this season, having
averaged 26.0 points in three games vs. the Warriors.
"They shot the ball extremely well, Mobley got hot," Warriors
coach Eric Musselman said. "We didn't play relaxed enough in
the third quarter and I thought to start the game that we
weren't playing with a sense of urgency or a sense of importance
with each possession in the third quarter."
Posey converted four straight from the line over the next 30
seconds to cap the surge and give the Rockets their biggest