Spurs hold off Rockets 85-82, Yao scores 25
Tim Duncan scored 28 points and Manu Ginobili hit two driving layups in the final minute as the San Antonio Spurs held off the Houston Rockets 85-82 Monday night. It was San Antonio's fifth straight victory and fourth in a row on the road.
The Spurs led 67-54 with 10:37 left, but the Rockets tied it 78-78 with 2:01 to play on a jumper by Yao Ming off a pass from Steve Francis.
Duncan tipped in the go-ahead basket with 1:38 to play and Ginobili fought his way through the lane twice for layups. He then hit a free throw for the final point of the game.
Francis missed a desperation 3-pointer as the game ended.
Ginobili and Robert Horry each had 13 points for San Antonio. Duncan had 10 rebounds for his 42nd double-double in 49 games.
Yao finished with 25 points and Francis had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The loss snapped Houston's three-game winning streak.
Trailing 32-20 in the second quarter, the Rockets used a 15-6 run to cut San Antonio's lead to 38-35 at the end of the half. Francis had six points in the spurt on a free throw, a 3-point basket and a turnaround jumper.
Francis also missed a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer that would have tied the score.
Trailing 16-14 in the first quarter, the Spurs went on an 8-0 surge at the end of the period. Duncan tied it with a jumper, Ginobili followed with a steal and layup, and Duncan ended it with a 15-foot banked jumper and a baseline drive.
San Antonio continued the run in the second quarter and ended up with an 18-4 charge and the 32-20 lead, the biggest of the first half.
Notes: Three Western Conference All-Star starters played in the game: Tim Duncan, Yao Ming and Steve Francis. ... The Rockets are 20-10 this season when Francis has more than five assists, and they are 9-12 when he has five or fewer assists. ... New Astros pitcher Roger Clemens was the courtside guest of Rockets owner Les Alexander. ... Clemens took part in an on-court skit during a timeout. He pitched inside to a batter in a Spurs jersey and a mock scuffle ensued. Clemens stayed out of the fake melee.