Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/13

Game 1: Tuesday, January 13th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 17th

Wizards 81

(16-35, 5-21 away)

Rockets 107


    7:30 PM ET, February 17, 2004

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 18 19 16 2881
    HOU 30 27 27 23107

    Top Performers

    WSH: S. Blake 12 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast

    Hou: K. Cato 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Houston shows teamwork with 34 assists

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Out of the playoffs for the last four years, the Houston Rockets are approaching the second half of the season with a little more urgency.

    Jim Jackson scored 17 points and Yao Ming had 16 and four blocked shots to lead the Rockets over the Washington Wizards 107-81 Tuesday night.

    "Coach gave us some good advice yesterday in practice," said Steve Francis, who contributed 11 points and seven assists. "He really wants us to focus on these last 30 games.

    "He told us to think of every game as a one-game playoff series, and that's what we're going to have to do if we're going to get where we want to go," he said.

    The Rockets improved to 31-22 under first-year coach Jeff Van Gundy.

    Van Gundy was impressed with Houston's 34 assists.

    "We did some good things. We made some extra passes," he said. "I think Steve created a lot of those shots."

    Kelvin Cato had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Cuttino Mobley scored 12 for the Rockets.

    "I think the assist numbers were impressive. It just shows we were able to move the ball around tonight and were able to get guys open," Francis said.

    Etan Thomas had 13 points to lead the Wizards, who lost for the ninth time in 10 trips to Houston. Washington hasn't won in Houston since Dec. 6, 2001.

    "It's not the end of the world," coach Eddie Jordan said. "Our bench played well and our starters didn't. We didn't get any leadership from our veterans. It was a very poor performance from our starters."

    Houston reeled off 12 straight points late in the first quarter with the help of four consecutive turnovers by Washington. It was part of a 16-2 run over the final 3:47 of the period that netted a 30-18 lead. Cato had 10 that quarter.

    Houston went on a 10-2 run early in the second quarter. Yao had 10 in the period as the lead reached 57-34 after a 10-0 run.

    Jackson's 14 points topped the Rockets as they led 57-37 at the half.

    Houston's lead got as big as 31 points in the third quarter. All five starters had already reached double figures in points and Houston led 84-53 after three.

    The lead reached 34 in the fourth quarter with Rockets' starters sitting out most of the period.

    Game notes

    The Rockets are 7-0 when scoring 100 or more points this season. ... Yao is averaging 18.5 points and 9.9 rebounds in wins and 13.8 and 7.9 in losses. ... The Rockets are 6-0 when Yao blocks four shots in a game this season. ...Houston is 9-1 in their first game after the All-Star break dating to the 1992-93 season. ... The Wizards 5-21 road record, including 1-7 against the Western Conference, is the worst in the league.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 107
    FGM-FGA 29-71 (.408) 44-81 (.543)
    3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 8-17 (.471)
    FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 11-14 (.786)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-34 13-42
    Assists 16 34
    Turnovers 23 18
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 6 7
    Fast Break Points 4 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (1/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Steve Blake Blake
    Points: 12
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Kelvin Cato Cato
    Points: 15
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1