HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston's intensity proved to be too much for the
The Rockets opened a big lead early in the game and coasted to a
103-80 victory over the Bucks Tuesday night.
"I'm very disappointed with our effort,'' Milwaukee coach
George Karl said. "We conceded the game early and didn't want to
win it very badly. We just never met the level of intensity that
Houston brought to the game.''
Sam Cassell led the Bucks with 22 points but didn't like the
start time of 9 p.m.
"It was terrible,'' Cassell said. "It would have been OK
playing on New Year's Eve at 7 or 7:30 p.m. but 9 p.m. is too
"Obviously, this is a wonderful way to end one year and start
another,'' coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We had balance. A lot of
guys got involved. The bench came in and did a great job.''
The teams were tied at 18 after the first quarter, but with
Francis scoring 14 and the bench adding a total of 13, the Rockets
pulled away to lead 50-36 at the half.
"We were moving the ball well and everybody got good looks,''
Francis said. "It was good for us to get so many reserves in.
Today I got to rest for a whole quarter, which is rare.''
Yao had 8 rebounds as Houston improved to 9-3 against Eastern
Back-to-back 3s by Glen Rice and Mobley finished a 10-0 run that
gave the Rockets a 68-46 lead with 5:39 left in the third. Yao had
10 and Francis nine in the period which ended with Houston leading
With Mobley scoring six and Yao adding four points and getting
three rebounds, the Rockets jumped to an 18-8 lead seven minutes
into the game. Cassell then led the Bucks on a 10-0 run, scoring
six of his 10 first-quarter points, to tie at 18 with 1:21 left in
Late in the second quarter, Francis scored nine points in an
11-0 run that gave the Rockets a 43-32 lead with 1:41 to play.
Francis had 14 in the quarter, including a 3 with less than a
second left, as Houston led 50-36 at halftime.
The Rockets led by as much as 28 points as reserves played most
of the fourth.
The Bucks played without leading scorer Ray Allen, who sat
out with a sore right ankle. ... The Rockets have held six teams to
fewer than 80 points, matching the franchise record set in three
other seasons, the last the 2000-2001. They are 5-1 in those games.
... Maurice Taylor left the game in the third quarter with a
tightened Achilles tendon and did not return. ... Milwaukee, which
beat Dallas Monday to go 3-5 in the first of back-to-back games, is
3-5 in the second games.