Rockets 103, Bucks 89

Preview | Box Score | Recap

HOUSTON (AP)—After going scoreless and collecting three fouls in the first half, Maurice Taylor redirected his aggression.

“I usually come out aggressive in the first half, but tonight I didn’t get many minutes because of foul trouble so I had to be aggressive in the second half,” Taylor said after scoring 19 second-half points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 103-89 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

“I looked at it just like I was coming off the bench in the first half,” added Taylor, who played only three of his 23 minutes in the first half.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak, Houston’s longest of the season.

Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy was pleased with Taylor’s second-half play.

“He obviously had a tough first half. He found open seams in the second half and did a great job of converting,” Van Gundy said. “The guys did a great job of finding him and I thought he had a very productive second half.”

Steve Francis, returning from a team-imposed one-game suspension, led Houston with 23 points, followed by Cuttino Mobley and Taylor with 19 each, Yao Ming with 16 and Jim Jackson with 14.

Brian Skinner led Milwaukee with 17 points. Joe Smith had 13 and Tim Thomas Michael Redd and Desmond Mason had 12 each.

The Rockets increased their lead gradually in the third period, outscoring the Bucks 12-4 in the final 3:58 to take a 75-62 lead. A pair of baskets by Taylor gave Houston an 82-67 lead before Milwaukee scored seven straight to cut its deficit to 82-74 with 6:25 left.

Two more baskets by Taylor moved Houston ahead 88-76, and the Bucks were never closer than eight after that.

“He hit a lot of big shots from the wing and the foul line. He stretched our defense and it was tough to match up with him,” Skinner said.

Neither team led by more the five in the first quarter, with Milwaukee holding a 25-22 advantage going into the second period.

Houston moved ahead 40-34 with 5:08 left in the second period after Mobleyscored seven straight points, and the Rockets led 50-47 at the half.

Notes

Houston activated guard-forward Adrian Griffin from the injured list Wednesday. He replaced guard Mike Wilks on the roster. Wilks was placed on the injured list with plantar fascitis in his right foot. … Houston is 25-10 this season when scoring 80 points or more and 2-11 when scoring less than 80 points … The Bucks have trailed by double figures in 29 of their 46 games this season … The Bucks are 11-7 since Skinner returned to the starting lineup onDec. 30.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Milwaukee
J. Smith J. Smith
5-10,  13 Pts
15 Rebs, 1 Assists
 Houston
S. Francis S. Francis
7-15,  23 Pts
5 Rebs, 7 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists