Saturday , Feb , 04 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets pound Sonics behind All-Star duo

=== Rockets pound Sonics behind All-Star duo ===

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady poured in 36 points and Yao Ming
netted 24 along with 14 rebounds, as the All-Star duo led Houston to an
impressive 100-77 victory over Seattle at the Toyota Center.

McGrady had 14 points during a decisive third quarter for the Rockets, who
dominated the second half to win back-to-back home games for the first time
all season. Yao recorded his second straight double-double in his third game
back from toe surgery which sidelined him six weeks.

Houston is 11-6 when McGrady and Yao are both on the court this season and
just 6-23 in games in which one or both are out of the lineup.

“It starts always with the two best guys (Yao and McGrady) and their
energy level,” said Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy. “Tracy McGrady
obviously was very efficient tonight and when he is efficient, we as a team
have a better chance of being efficient.”

Ray Allen topped the SuperSonics, who had won four of six coming in, with 23
points. Rashard Lewis finished with 21 in the loss.

With Houston clinging to a 50-49 lead early in the third quarter, McGrady
scored the game’s next nine points to ignite an 18-4 run which broke the
contest open.

After a McGrady three-pointer with just over four minutes left in the period
put the Rockets up 64-53, Juwan Howard threw down a dunk and Yao hit a short
jumper to extend the margin to 15 points.

“I wanted to come out in the third quarter and really impose my will on that
team,” said McGrady.

Seattle never recovered. Houston took a commanding 73-57 lead into the fourth
quarter, then McGrady buried two three-pointers around a Stromile Swift layup
for a 24-point cushion less than two minutes into the frame.

The Sonics were up 24-21 after one quarter and 35-33 midway through the second
before the Rockets put together a surge. McGrady capped a 10-2 burst with a
driving layup which staked Houston to a 43-37 lead with around three minutes
to go in the half.

The Rockets went into the break holding a 48-43 edge, but Seattle scored the
first four points of the third quarter to close within one.

Game Notes

Houston is just 6-15 at the Toyota Center this season…Seattle had scored at
least 111 points in six of its previous seven games…The Rockets outrebounded
the Sonics 50-40 for the night…Houston has now won five straight in the
series…The home team won for just the second time in the last nine meetings
between the clubs…Rafer Alston registered 11 assists for the Rockets.