Tuesday , Dec , 09 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets shoot for fourth straight win

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets target their fourth
straight win tonight when they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to the
Toyota Center.

On Saturday, Yao Ming had 22 points and established a career-high with
20 rebounds in a dominating performance, as the Rockets rolled to a
86-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Cuttino Mobley and Maurice Taylor chipped in with 14 points each while Steve
Francis had a season-high 11 assists for the Rockets, whose three-game tear
comes on the heels of a three-game slide.

The game was decided in the first seven minutes of the third quarter, as
Houston came out strong in the second half with an 18-6 run. Francis capped
the scoring on a jumper with 5:02 left, giving the Rockets a 66-47 lead.

The Pistons chipped away at the Rockets’ lead in the fourth quarter, getting
as close as six when Mehmet Okur completed a three-point play with 3:53 left
to narrow the gap to 80-74.

Mobley, though, took the wind out of the Pistons’ sails with a three-point
play of his own 1:30 later to make it 83-74. Yao then put the exclamation
point on the victory with a dunk in the closing seconds.

Houston, which will wrap up a three-game homestand on Thursday against the San
Antonio Spurs, is 7-1 at home this season.

Portland, meanwhile, had their three-game winning streak stopped on Sunday and
remained winless away from home this season when it was defeated by the
Memphis Grizzlies, 93-79.

Zach Randolph poured in 29 points and hauled in 13 rebounds for the Trail
Blazers, who have won five of their last eight. Rasheed Wallace added 13
points and had nine boards in the setback.

Portland is 0-6 on the road this year and has dropped its last nine regular-
season road contests dating back to last season. The Trail Blazers will wrap
up a three-game road trip in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Portland defeated the Rockets earlier in the season and has won four straight
and seven of the last eight meetings. The Blazers have also won six of eight
and nine of its last 13 in Houston.