The Jazz have won 18 of the last 21 meetings with the Rockets, including a 96-91 victory at the Compaq Center on December 23. They have a 76-64 all-time lead in the series despite losing 42 of 70 visits to Houston.
Utah has won four of its last six games and avoided a three-game losing streak with a 105-84 home victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Karl Malone scored 12 of his 31 points in the third quarter as the Jazz erased an 11-point deficit en route to their 17th win in 25 games.
John Stockton had 11 assists and 10 points and Tony Massenburg collected 11 points and 12 rebounds as Utah played without injured forward Matt Harpring, who sat out for the second time in three games due to bruised ribs.
The Jazz have won three of five games without coach Jerry Sloan, who is serving a seven-game suspension for pushing an official during a win at Sacramento on January 28.
Utah did not have an All-Star representative, a welcome rest for a team that played six games in nine games prior to the break.
The Jazz have lost four of their last six road games and are 11-13 away from the Delta Center this season.
Houston dropped its final two games before the All-Star break, including a 105-102 road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Francis had 20 points and nine assist in Sunday’s All-Star Game while Yao was limited to two points and two rebounds in just 17 minutes.
The Rockets have won seven of their last nine home games and are 19-7 at the Compaq Center this season.
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