Friday , Dec , 12 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

Houston Rockets Team Report – December 12

=== Houston Rockets Team Report – December 12 ===

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 71-67,
in a low-scoring Midwest Division contest on Thursday at the Toyota Center.

Cuttino Mobley paced the Rockets with 19 points, while Steve Francis added 18
in the loss for Houston, which saw its four-game winning streak halted. Yao
Ming was held to just eight points with 10 rebounds for the Rockets.

The contest made history, as the 55 total points for both teams after 24
minutes marked the lowest two-team total in one half of play since the
introduction of the shot clock. The previous low combined total for a half was
57, which happened twice – Detroit and Denver did it on November 16, 2002, as
well as the Heat and Knicks in January of last season.

The Spurs, who took a 30-25 lead into the locker room, set a club record for
the lowest point total in one half. Houston, meanwhile, tied a franchise mark
for the second-worst point output in a half of play.

Midway through the third quarter, the Spurs opened up a five-point edge at
38-33, courtesy of a Manu Ginobili bucket. However, the Rockets ran off six
unanswered points to grab a 39-38 lead after a Jim Jackson basket. The
remainder of the period was back and fourth, with San Antonio moving ahead
46-45 on a Tony Parker jumper.

The scoring then picked up in the fourth. With just under four and a half
minutes to go, the Spurs were on top by three, 60-57. Houston, though, rattled
off four straight points for a 61-60 edge with 2:45 on the clock.

Bruce Bowen’s three-pointer followed by a Tim Duncan basket in the paint gave
the defending champions a 65-61 lead. Two free throws by Houston brought it
within two, but Duncan struck again with a three-point play as the Spurs led,
68-63 with 1:25 to play.

A quick Rockets’ basket after a timeout cut their deficit to 68-65 with 20
seconds left, but Parker was successful from the charity stripe to stake the
Spurs to a 69-65 lead. Houston then made a bucket to make it 69-67, but it was
not enough as Devin Brown’s two foul shots sealed the victory.

The Rockets visit the Spurs on Saturday in the second of a home-and-home set.