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Rockets 95, Bulls 78

March 1, 2001

CHICAGO (AP) _ Steve Francis scored 21 points and Hakeem Olajuwon added 17 as the Houston Rockets beat the Chicago Bulls 95-78 Wednesday night.

Reserve Kenny Thomas had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who have won five of six and finished February 9-4.

Elton Brand scored 21 points to lead the Bulls, who have lost five of six.

Bryce Drew hit three 3-pointers and dished out four assists in the first quarter as the Bulls broke out to a 29-19 lead.

Chicago led by as many 12 before Houston rallied. The Rockets went on a 15-2 run, aided by six quick points from Thomas and a 3-pointer by Walt Williams to grab a 34-33 lead midway through the second quarter.

Houston built its lead to 59-49 on Olajuwon’s jumper with 6:12 left in the third. The Bulls closed to within five points several times, but the Rockets held them at bay.

Early in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Cato clanked a dunk off the back of the rim, the ball going straight up about 20 feet in the air and coming down right through the net for two points.

The Rockets, who shot 51 percent from the field, are 12-0 when making over 50 percent as a team.

Notes: The Bulls placed guard Khalid El-Amin on the injury list with a sore knee and activated guard A.J. Guyton, who missed 40 games with a right knee sprain. ... Chicago’s Ron Mercer, who has missed five of six games, said he will test his ailing left ankle in practice Thursday. ... The Rockets placed forward Matt Bullard on the injured list with a stress fracture in his back. Filling the roster spot is guard Sean Colson, signed to a 10-day contract. ... Maurice Taylor has tendinitis in both feet and did not play in the second half.