Houston forces 19 turnovers in victory


CHICAGO (AP) -- Steve Francis thought the Houston Rockets got a
little bit of help from the Chicago Bulls.

Francis scored 19 points, Cuttino Mobley added 14 and Yao Ming
had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets, who cruised to a
98-66 victory Monday night.

Houston forced Chicago into 19 turnovers and held them to just
27 percent shooting.

"They play five-man basketball," Francis said. "They play too
much individual ball. I think that helped us a lot by them being
selfish and not passing the ball to one another. You are not going
to win if guys think about themselves more than the team, and
that's what it looked like they were doing out there."

Jamal Crawford led the Bulls with 19 points, and Tyson Chandler
had 14 points and 17 rebounds. It was the third blowout loss
already this season for Chicago. The Bulls lost to Washington at
home by 25 in their opener and got beat at Milwaukee by 30 on

Chicago (1-3) was never in this game as the Rockets got off to a
quick start, taking a 16-5 lead on Jim Jackson's jumper, which
ignited the first set of boos from the United Center crowd.

"I'm not going to point any fingers or anything like that,"
Chandler said. "The only thing I can do is to contribute and do my
part, try to be a leader and try to help my teammates out. I'm not
going to kick any people while they are down."

The Bulls had a number of defensive lapses in the first half.
Houston extended its lead to 55-35 at the half when Chandler bit on
a Scott Padgett's pump-fake and drove to the basket for an easy

Jalen Rose missed a short jumper with 4:30 left, which triggered
a loud chorus of boos. Rose was 2-of-9 with five points.

Bostjan Nachbar hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Houston. He
closed out the third quarter with a 3 and started the fourth with
another to give Houston a 80-48 lead, tying for its largest lead.

Nachbar was 4-for-4 from 3-point range and finished with 12

Francis scored 13 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting.
Mobley had 12 and Yao had 10. The Bulls shot just 24 percent in the
first half.

"We had all open shots," Francis said. "We made the extra
pass and that's what got us the lead and the win."

Game notes
Bulls F Scottie Pippen will be sidelined at least one week
after missing the game because of a sore left knee. Pippen felt
pain in the knee before the Bulls' shootaround earlier in the day.
He had an MRI and wasn't with the team for the game. It's the same
knee he had arthroscopic surgery on last season. ... The Bulls shot
26.6 percent, the worst mark for either team in the history of the
series. ... Houston grabbed 41 total rebounds, including just one
offensive rebound.