Houston ties franchise-record low, shoots 29.5 percent


HOUSTON (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers just watched the
Houston Rockets self-destruct.

Damon Stoudamire scored 21 points for Portland, and the Rockets
tied a franchise low by shooting just 29.5 percent in the Trail
Blazers' 81-66 victory Tuesday night.

"We tried to stay in front of them and make them shoot tough
shots," Stoudamire said. "I was playing Steve (Francis) and he's
a great scorer. He likes to get to the hole. Tonight, I tried to
shut that down and made them shoot from long range and they missed
a lot of shots they normally make."

The point total was a season-low for Houston, and tied the
franchise low set Dec. 21, 1996 against Miami.

The Rockets went without a field goal for 8:29, a span that
started late in the third quarter and continued until 8:25 remained
in the game. Houston shot just 3-for-24 in the third period.

"I think our defense did well but our offense was chaotic at
times," Houston's Yao Ming said. "It wasn't one person not
shooting well. It was everyone. It was contagious. Help me find
another excuse."

Bonzi Wells added 17 points for Portland, and Arvydas Sabonis
came off the bench to score 11. James Posey led the Rockets with 15
points, all in the first half.

Houston was leading 38-32 with 5:12 left in the second quarter
when their shooting woes began.

"We did a good job with our defense," Portland's Dale Davis
said. "I thought we stepped up our defense in the third quarter.
We forced them to do other things than what they normally do. They
have players that can put up big numbers but they didn't do that

Francis had 12 points for Houston, and Cuttino Mobley scored
just eight. They were a combined 3-for-32 from the field. Yao had
six points and 12 rebounds. He shot 1-for-13.

"We were having 6-, 8-footers that weren't going in," guard
Glen Rice said. "Sometimes, the shots just don't fall. It was a
domino effect. This will be easy to shake off. We have a tough
opponent tomorrow night.

"I'm sure we'll go up to Utah and the shots that didn't fall
tonight will be falling tomorrow night."

Maurice Taylor started for the Rockets in place of Eddie
Griffin, who was charged Monday with marijuana possession before
being released on $500 bond. Griffin played 22 minutes and scored
seven points.

Posey had 11 points in the first quarter as Houston took and
early lead but Portland went on a 12-2 run over the final 5:12 of
the second quarter for their halftime advantage. Wells scored eight
points during the spurt.

"Damon was good tonight," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said.
"We played him off the ball tonight and he did some things well.
Being off the ball allowed him to do more scoring. He helped us
open up a lead."

Game notes
Ruben Patterson did not make the trip with Portland. He is
recovering from a broken left eye socket after being punched by
teammate Zach Randolph during practice. ... Of the six players
Portland sent to Houston in 1999 for Scottie Pippen, only Kelvin
Cato is still with the team.