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Yao Not a Factor, but Rockets Win

February 25, 2003|From Associated Press

The fans came to see Yao Ming, and for most of the game they saw a 7-foot-5 decoy.

Cuttino Mobley scored 31 points, making a three-point basket to force overtime and another for the game winner to lead the visiting Houston Rockets to a 101-95 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday as Yao made his Boston debut before a sellout crowd on Asian-American Night.

"They were all over Yao and this was a great learning experience for him," Rocket Coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "This was the most concentrated defense I have seen on one guy this season defending Yao."

Steve Francis returned after sitting out a game because of a sore back and scored 33 points with nine rebounds and nine assists, making two free throws with 20 seconds left in overtime.

Yao had only nine points on two shots as the Celtics banged him around and denied him the ball at the low post. But he hit a skyhook in the lane with 3:59 left in the fourth to cap an 11-0 run that cut the Celtics' lead to four as the Rockets scored 20 of the last 25 points in regulation.

Antoine Walker had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Eric Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Celtics lost to the Rockets for the fifth consecutive time.

Seattle 86, Detroit 79 -- Ray Allen, playing his first game in Seattle since being traded for Gary Payton and others last week, scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half as the SuperSonics handed the Pistons their third consecutive loss.

Detroit led, 62-60, after Chuck Atkins' three-pointer 55 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the SuperSonics answered that with 11 straight points, including a three-pointer and two fast-break layups by Allen to take a 71-62 lead.

Minnesota 117, Milwaukee 114 -- Kevin Garnett had 34 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the Timberwolves ruined Payton's home debut for the Bucks.

Garnett, averaging 28.2 points and 14.2 rebounds in February, has an NBA-best 47 double-doubles.

Payton, a nine-time All-Star, finished with a team-high 21 points and nine assists for Milwaukee.

Chicago 90, Phoenix 87 -- Jalen Rose recorded his first career triple-double and scored the last seven points at Chicago, and the Bulls ended a three-game losing streak.

Rose, who had 19 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds, made seven of eight free throws in the last two minutes to preserve the win. Phoenix has lost four in a row.

Memphis 103, Utah 92 -- Wesley Person scored 27 points and made six of 10 three-pointers at Memphis, Tenn., to lead the Grizzlies to their first victory over this Jazz in four tries this season.

Golden State 94, Denver 89 -- Gilbert Arenas had 19 points at Denver and the Warriors got 56 points from their bench in handing the Nuggets their ninth straight loss.


Diagnosed with a disease that weakens his legs and disrupts his balance, Todd MacCulloch could be done playing basketball. Philadelphia spokesman Chris Wallace said the 76ers wouldn't immediately discuss the results. Medical experts said it's unlikely MacCulloch will be able to continue playing with a genetic disorder known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.... Dallas Maverick guard Nick Van Exel was fined $20,000 for verbally abusing officials after a 106-101 victory over Washington on Sunday.

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