Rockets Beat Raptors, 88-76
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HOUSTON (AP) _ Steve Francis scored 28 points and Yao Ming provided some entertaining moments in his home debut as the Houston Rockets beat the Toronto Raptors 88-76 Saturday night.
The Raptors played most of the game without guard Vince Carter, who left with 6:17 to go in the first quarter with a strained right knee and did not return. Team trainers said he would be re-examined on Sunday.
Toronto also lost forward Antonio Davis with 4:11 to go in the third period with a strained muscle in his left ribcage.
Yao entered the game with 8:18 to go in the first quarter with fans cheering his every move. He scored his second NBA basket moments later with a hook shot and drove around Mamadoi N’diaye moments later for two points.
Yao grabbed a deflected pass in the third quarter and slammed in a dunk. He finished with eight points, four rebounds, one block and three fouls.
Cuttino Mobley added 20 points for the Rockets.
The Rockets led by 26 points late in the third quarter but the Raptors edged back briefly. Lindsey Hunter led the Raptors with 17 points and Morris Peterson added 16.
Houston led 50-39 at the half and used a 9-2 spurt at the start of the third quarter to get a 59-41 lead. Francis had nine points in the quarter and the Rockets had a 72-46 advantage with 1:54 left in the third period.
The Rockets hit six of their first eight shots and Toronto made only one of its first seven shots as Houston jumped to a 17-5 lead.
Toronto guard Alvin Williams scored 10 first-half points and the Raptors got to 38-33 midway through the second quarter.