Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Saturday, November 2nd
Game 2: Wednesday, March 5th

Raptors 76

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Rockets 88


    7:30 PM ET, November 2, 2002

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 20 19 14 2376
    HOU 29 21 24 1488

    Top Performers

    Tor: M. Peterson 16 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Stl

    Hou: S. Francis 28 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Raptors, Carter frustrated by additional injuries

    HOUSTON (AP) -- The Toronto Raptors are worried about Vince Carter's knee again.

    Vince Carter

    Vince Carter is helped from the floor after going down early in the Raptors' defeat.

    Steve Francis scored 28 points and Yao Ming provided some entertaining moments in his home debut as the Houston Rockets beat Toronto 88-76 Saturday night.

    The Raptors played most of the game without Carter, who left with 6:17 to go in the first quarter with a left knee injury and did not return. Team trainers said he would be re-examined Sunday.

    Toronto also lost forward Antonio Davis with 4:11 to go in the third period with a strained muscle in his left ribcage.

    ''I'm not sure how he did it,'' Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said of Carter. ''He wasn't the only one we lost. We also lost Antonio. We'll have to see how it is when we get back home.''

    Carter sustained a quadriceps tendon strain and was listed as day-to-day. He missed the final 14 games of last season after surgery to repair the same knee.

    ''No dumb questions because I'm not answering them,'' Carter said. ''I just don't know. It really hurts. This is three years in a row and it's very frustrating. It's very tough.''

    Carter's knee plagued him for most of last season and some the previous year.

    ''I was running down the court and I just couldn't go,'' he said. ''It is about the same as last year. We'll see after the MRI. I have to figure a way to get back. I knew when it happened, what it was. It's not a good feeling at all.''

    Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich coached Carter on the United States Olympic team.

    ''My heart goes out to Vince Carter, I hope his injury is not serious,'' Tomjanovich said. ''He has a special place in my heart.''

    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.

    ''I learned that in China, I've been using it for a while,'' Yao said of his move on N'diaye. ''I saw somebody do it but I don't remember who it was.''

    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.

    ''I was definitely more relaxed tonight, I was more involved in the game,'' Yao said. ''But there are a lot of things I have to work on.''

    Cuttino Mobley added 20 points for the Rockets.

    ''Every game is going to be a process,'' Francis said. ''We'll stay with him (Yao) 100 percent and he'll stay with us 100 percent. Everything is working out just as planned.''

    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 pulled to 38-33 midway through the second quarter.

    ''It's very disappointing when you don't know the status of your best player,'' Peterson said. ''Hopefully, it won't be too bad.''

    Game notes

    Through three games, Francis and Mobley have accounted for 62.8 percent of the Rockets' offense. ... The Rockets never trailed. ... Hunter scored eight of his 17 points in the final 13 minutes of the game. ... The game was supposed to be a return home for Hakeem Olajuwon, traded to Toronto last August. But Olajuwon has not played with the Raptors this season. The Rockets will retire his jersey Nov. 9 in a pregame ceremony.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 88
    FGM-FGA 28-79 (.354) 36-78 (.462)
    3PM-3PA 3-15 (.200) 1-7 (.143)
    FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 15-22 (.682)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-43 12-49
    Assists 9 13
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 9 6
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 4 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Morris Peterson Peterson
    Points: 16
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 28
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0