Yao dominates as Rockets roll Knicks
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Yao Ming scored 35 points, grabbed 17 rebounds
and blocked a career-high tying seven shots to lead the Houston Rockets over
the New York Knicks, 103-94, at the Toyota Center.
Yao hit 15-of-21 shots from the floor for the Rockets, who picked up their
third straight win. Tracy McGrady added 13 points and eight assists and Rafer
Alston had 13 points, six assists and five rebounds for Houston, which has won
four straight and six of seven against the Knicks.
“On other teams I have played for, if I played this bad and only got 13 points
or whatever, we would have lost. Tonight I was just a contributor. I love my
new role,” said a laughing McGrady.
Stephon Marbury had 22 points and Jamal Crawford scored 18 for New York, which
continues to struggle. Quentin Richardson added 16 points for the Knicks, who
have lost four of five since opening the season with a win over Memphis.
“Yao was great and we couldn’t do anything against him,” Knicks coach Isiah
Thomas said. “He really had his rhythm the whole game and Yao now is
everything they say he is. He was exceptional tonight. When big guys get into
that kind of rhythm, they are very hard to stop.”
The Knicks led only twice in the game. Once at 2-0 and the least time at 4-2.
After that, Houston went on an 18-4 run to begin to pull away.
New York drew within 26-20 by the end of the first quarter and a Nate Robinson
three-pointer with three mintues left in the second quarter got the Knicks to
That, however, was the closest the Knicks got. Houston extended to a 54-46
halftime lead and opened the second half with a 14-4 run to go ahead 68-50.
McGrady’s three-pointer just over four minutes into the third capped the run,
which allowed the Rockets to cruise into the fourth with an 82-66 cushion.
New York made it interesting late in the fourth quarter, scoring seven
straight to get within 99-93 after a Marbury three-pointer with 1:15 left. The
Knicks, though, never made it a one-possession game, as the Rockets hit their
free throws down the stretch.
New York’s Steve Francis missed the game with a left ankle injury…Yao has
blocked seven shots in two other games…Houston is 2-0 at home…New York
fell to 2-2 on the road…Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy is 6-1 against his
former club the Knicks…New York was coming off a 109-107 win in Denver. The
club has not won consecutive games this season…Houston is 4-2 overall this