Steve Francis led the Rockets with 20 points Saturday.
Steve Francis scored eight of his 20 points in a decisive fourth-quarter run as the Rockets held Iverson to 11 points in a 97-72 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
``Iverson averages 30 points a game and he can turn a game faster than anyone. Containing him was our focus on defense and we were fortunate to do it,'' Houston's Cuttino Mobley said.
Iverson was 5-of-19 from the field and was held 18 points below his season average. He also had nine turnovers, one short of his career high.
``I said to the team that I couldn't believe that I was
struggling like I was,'' Iverson said. ``After so many successful
games you are going to have these games now and then. As a pro, you
have to deal with it and get it out of your system. In my career,
I've been able to deal with it.''
Philadelphia coach Larry Brown was critical of his team's play.
``We played like a bunch of strangers. We didn't lose the game tonight because of Allen's play, I'm not concerned at all with Allen,'' Brown said. ``He's trying hard and giving effort, but you have to have a team to help you out.''
Yao Ming had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, which used a 22-6 run that lasted most of the first nine minutes of the final period. The victory was Houston's sixth straight at home, where the Rockets are 7-1 and off to their best start since the 1996-97 season.
``I think passing is one of the main reasons tonight we were able to get the win,'' Yao said. ``I also was able to get a lot of long rebounds. A lot of those have been luck, but tonight they led to some big points.
Houston led by nine when its fourth-quarter scoring spree began with two baskets by Thomas. The Sixers were unable to respond, after Francis scored five straight points to give the Rockets an 82-65 advantage with 7:44 left.
Rice scored 10 points in the first 5:47 to spark Houston to a
15-10 lead, before Philadelphia tied it 23-23, going into the
Houston took a 41-33 with 4:21 left in the half after eight
straight points by Mobley. The Rockets scored the last seven points
of the half to lead 48-40.
A basket by Van Horn cut the Sixers' deficit to 52-49 with 8:28
left in the third period, but Houston went on an 8-2 run to make it
60-51. The Rockets led 71-65 at the end of the third.
Houston activated Mobley from the injured list Saturday and
placed guard Tito Maddox on the injured list with a left foot
plantar fasciitis. ... The Rockets reserves have scored over 20
points in 11 of their last 12 games, outscoring their opponents in
eight of those. ... The Sixers are 4-6 when they have trailed by 10
or more. ... Iverson has scored in double-figures in 141 straight
games ... Philadelphia is 4-1 in games decided three points or less
... Yao recorded his third straight double-double.