HOUSTON, Jan. 17 (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves came in on an emotional high but posted a franchise record low.

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Managing just 26 points in the first half, the Timberwolves never recovered and had their five-game winning streak snapped with a 95-76 loss to the Houston Rockets, who got 22 points and 15 rebounds from Yao Ming.

"We got our (rear end) kicked and that's all you can say about it," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "They came out and dominated us from the beginning to the end. They were very aggressive and they contested us on every shot. This was a game we have to shower off and get ready for the next one."

The Timberwolves had won 18 of their previous 21 games and were coming off road victories over New Orleans and San Antonio. The latter win vaulted them past the Spurs and into first place in the Midwest Division.

Playing on ABC for the first time this season, Minnesota started badly and got progressively worse. It trailed by 10 points after one quarter, 19 at halftime and 30 late in the third period.

"We just want to forget about this game," Wolves guard Sam Cassell said. "This game wasn't us. We didn't accomplish anything today."

The Wolves missed nine of their first 10 shots in the opening period and 12 of their first 13 in the second quarter. They trailed, 39-16, with just over five minutes to go in the first half.

"They hit us, hit us and hit us again before we even started to play," Cassell said.

Minnesota broke the franchise record for fewest points in a first half of 27, set April 12, 1997 against Atlanta.

Steve Francis added 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Maurice Taylor scored 16 points off the bench for the Rockets, who have won three in a row and seven of nine.

"Minnesota is a good team. They're definitely one of the hottest teams," Francis said. "We proved today that we're able to play with the people that are considered the big boys."

Cassell scored 25 points and Kevin Garnett added 19 for the Wolves, who shot just 37 percent (29-of-79) and were manhandled, 51-28, on the boards.

During a 9 1/2-minute stretch that bridged the first two quarters, Houston scored 16 straight points while Minnesota missed 13 straight shots.

"We tried to be intense with our defense from the start," Taylor said. "They are the best shooting team (by percentage) in the league, but we have the best defense (by percentage) in the league. That first half was the best defense we've played all year. When we play defense like that, we're good.

"We couldn't have thrown a beach ball into the ocean," said Garnett, who made just 7-of-20 shots. "It was not a pretty game."

A 3-pointer by Jim Jackson, who scored 11 points, gave Houston its largest lead at 68-38 late in the third quarter.