Sunday , Mar , 05 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

McGrady hurts back, but Rockets breeze by Blazers

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Yao Ming dropped in 32 points and pulled down
13 rebounds to lead Houston to an easy 102-84 win over Portland at the Toyota
Center.

Tracy McGrady added 18 points before leaving in third quarter with a back
problem for the Rockets, who beat Portland for a ninth straight time. This was
the third time this season McGrady left a game after his back acted up.
Houston was in control, 72-61, when McGrady exited.

David Wesley added 12 points for Houston while Juwan Howard netted 11 and 11
rebounds in the win. The Rockets have won two straight and 12 of their last 16
games.

Steve Blake poured in 23 points for the Blazers, who have dropped 12 of their
last 14. Zach Randolph deposited 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds in
the loss.

After a very uneven first half, the Rockets regrouped and dominated the final
two quarters. Houston put together an excellent third quarter, in which the
Rockets outscored Portland, 37-22, to take back control of the game.

The Rockets led by 14, 76-62, heading into the final frame and continued to
pull away. Luther Head buried a long triple with just over 10 minutes
remaining to extend the cushion to 16, 81-65.

Howard’s jumper with 3:55 left on the clock gave Houston its largest lead of
the game, 92-70.

Portland never seriously threatened the rest of the way as the Rockets coasted
to the victory.

Houston raced out to a 25-12 lead after the first 12 minutes, but had a woeful
second quarter enabling Portland to jump right back into the game by
intermission.

Blake scored 11 of the Blazers’ final 13 points in the half as Portland came
all the way back and took a 40-39 edge into the locker room.

Game Notes

Portland has lost five straight and nine of its last 10 road games. The
Blazers own a terrible 6-24 mark on the road this season…The Rockets won the
battle of the boards, 47-37.

HOU POR