PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Even with a hard fought victory, the
Portland Trail Blazers can't shake controversy.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Rockets, who
were led by Yao Ming's 21 points and nine rebounds.
After the game Mobley was angrily shouting at Portland bench,
but Wallace held him back at midcourt. Other players were also seen
yelling at each other.
When asked what the disagreement was about, Houston guard Steve Francis said: "Ask the kid who plays over there for Portland."
Francis would not elaborate, but his comments appeared to be
directed at second-year forward Qyntel Woods.
"There were some words at the free throw lines between Francis
and Qyntel, but it was just trash-talking," Blazers guard Jeff McInnis said "That's basketball, you know?"
Said Mobley: "At the end of the game, I didn't see anything and
I have nothing with Qyntel Woods." He wouldn't talk further.
The Blazers, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the first
half, led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets narrowed it to 73-72 on Maurice Taylor's jumper. Stoudamire responded with a 3-pointer. The Rockets kept it close
until Stoudamire's jumper with 2:33 left made it 78-74, and McInnis
added an unanswered 3-pointer to put it out of Houston's reach.
The Blazers shot just 34.1 percent from the floor.
"We played a great first quarter and a very poor last three.
You held a team on the road to 34 percent, you should win the
game," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "But we had eight or
nine more turnovers, gave up 17 second shots, and fouled recklessly
so they shoot 11 more free throws.
"You're going to lose. That is a recipe for a road loss."
Blazers guard Bonzi Wells was serving the second game of a two-game team suspension after he cursed at coach Maurice Cheeks
during Portland's 105-98 loss to Dallas on Monday.
Wells was fined by the team earlier in the season for making an
obscene gesture toward a fan.
The suspension forced Cheeks to be creative with his on-court
matchups, especially with guard Derek Anderson -- who started last
year -- still on the injured list with back spasms.
Portland didn't initially have an answer for Yao, who had 10
points in the first quarter alone. The Rockets used a 10-3 run to
take a 27-16 lead, capped by Maurice Taylor's dunk.
Houston led by as many as 13 points, but the Blazers closed in
midway through the second quarter on Stoudamire's personal 7-0 run.
His 18-foot jumper made it 30-25, and a 3-pointer further narrowed
the gap before a running jumper with 6:13 left in the half tied it
The Blazers outscored the Rockets 26-12 in the second quarter
and went into the break with a 42-39 advantage.
The Blazers built their lead to 53-47 on McInnis' jumper midway
through the third quarter.
Game Notes: The Trail Blazers waived forward Tracy Murray, who averaged
1.1 points per game ... Anna Kournikova, in town for a Superset
Tennis exhibition Saturday, attended the game. Kournikova will play
a set against Amanda Coetzer at the Rose Garden as an added
attraction to the eight-man, one-set sudden-death exhibition event.
... Portland was 3-1 in the series against Houston last season. ...
Yao has seven double-doubles this season.
Marc Stein provides an update on Kevin Durant's free agent status, with the Warriors, Spurs and Thunder setting up meetings. Stein believes Thunder have a great shot to keep him, but they still have to make their pitch.
Kevin Durant, the top prize of the 2016 free-agent market, will sit down first with the Warriors, Spurs and Thunder, sources said.
Jalen Rose and David Jacoby react to President Obama and Tyronn Lue's phone call in which the President urges Coach Lue to have his players keep their shirts on.