The Rockets outscored the Hawks 37-19 in the period.
Rice had 11, Mobley 10 and Yao nine in the quarter, and Houston
added a 14-4 run in the fourth, with Steve Francis scoring eight, to go ahead by as many as 19.
Steve Francis finished with 23 points, Mobley added 22 and Yao
had 17 points and eight rebounds -- only the second time in nine
games he has missed a double-double.
Houston went on a 12-0 run early in the third to close the gap
Rice went 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in a span of 1:29, and Yao added
a free throw in between as Houston tied the game, 61-61.
"When he hit those 3s, that was the turning point of the
game,'' Francis said. "They hadn't decided if they were going to
play us honest on defense or what. But that shooting made the
The Rockets took the lead for the first time since early in the
game, 63-61, on Francis' jumper with 4:08 left in the third.
Coach Rudy Tomjanovich also thought Rice's 13 points were a key.
"I love him,'' Tomjanovich said. "He has had such a positive
effect on this team, not only in his play but in his leadership.''
Rice, who shot 5-of-8, says he is finding his shooting touch.
"I'm really starting to feel comfortable out there,'' he said.
"When we move the ball like we did and get it to the open man, it
is a lot of fun.''
The Hawks had most of the fun in the first half as Glenn
Robinson scored 22 and Atlanta led 49-38 at intermission.
"Glenn was awfully good then,'' coach Lon Kruger said. "And
Jason (Terry) did a good job of penetrating. But everything was
different in the third quarter.''
Robinson had only six points the second half.
"The zone bothered us and they got very hot,'' Robinson said.
"We overcommitted on defense. We have to learn to play a full game
like we did the first half.''
Maurice Taylor started for only the third time this season and
scored six points early to push Houston ahead 14-8 before Atlanta
responded with a 10-0 run.
Robinson hit his first six shots, including two 3s, and was
8-of-9 in the quarter. His 18 points helped Atlanta lead 28-20
The Hawks stretched that margin to as many as 13 and settled for
a 49-38 halftime lead as they were ahead 32-17 in rebounds,
including a 14-3 edge in offensive boards. Robinson had 22 points
on 10-of-12 shooting at the half.
Taylor started in place of Eddie Griffin, who was not with
the team due to personal reasons. ... Newly acquired James Posey,
who came over in the three-team trade with the Nuggets and 76ers on
Wednesday, played the last three minutes of the game. His only stat
was a personal foul. ... Rudy Tomjanovich tied Kevin Loughery for
23rd on the career coaching victories list with 474 ... Chris
Crawford didn't play (inflamed knee) for the eighth straight game.