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Rockets add to Celtics’ problems

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Yao Ming had never seen so many 3-pointers, yet his Houston Rockets had enough firepower of their own to withstand Boston's barrage and deal the Celtics another defeat.

The Celtics launched 33 shots from 3-point range and made 14, but Steve Francis scored 26 points, Cuttino Mobley added 24 and Yao blocked five shots as the Rockets won 101-92 on Monday night.

Boston's 3-point attempts tied for the most against the Rockets, who were a modest 7-of-17 from 3-point range.

"They are awfully good shooters and they made some clutch shots," said Celtics coach Jim O'Brien, whose team has lost eight of 10. "I think we made good decisions on our 3s. I don't remember a 3 that we forced until the end of the game. Yao Ming makes it very difficult to get the ball to the basket."

Francis and the 7-foot-6 Yao both had big first quarters to give the Rockets a lead they never surrendered. Still, the Rockets couldn't put much distance between themselves and the Celtics.

"Our passing in the first quarter was very smooth," Yao said. "We found a lot of open shots. That's why we were able to build a strong lead."

PISTONS 101, MAGIC 86: At Orlando, Fla., Richard Hamilton scored 27 points in the first three quarters and Ben Wallace had 19 rebounds to lead Detroit. Tracy McGrady scored 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting and Mike Miller added 18 for the Magic, who have dropped five of seven overall and three straight at home.

BULLS 101, KNICKS 94: At Chicago, Jalen Rose scored 28 points and Tyson Chandler had a career-high 19 rebounds as the Bulls nearly blew a 20-point fourth-quarter lead before beating the Knicks. Allan Houston led New York with 25, and Kurt Thomas chipped in 19.

GRIZZLIES 110, WARRIORS 108: At Oakland, Calif., Gordan Giricek made an open layup with 1 second left, and Memphis won on the road for just the second time this season. Giricek scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half.

TIMBERWOLVES 89, NUGGETS 75: At Minneapolis, Anthony Peeler scored 20 points off the bench and Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 15 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Juwan Howard had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Ryan Bowen had 14 points and nine rebounds for Denver.

TRAIL BLAZERS 118, CAVALIERS 94: At Portland, Ore., Ruben Patterson scored 20 points while subbing for injured starter Bonzi Wells, and Zach Randolph added a career-high 18 for the Trail Blazers.