Wednesday , Dec , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

The Rockets are Yao’s team

(Sports Network) – All-Star center Yao Ming has been huge for Houston, which
is a solid 15-9 and is 3 1/2 games behind the first place San Antonio Spurs in
the Southwest Division. The second place Dallas Mavericks are just one game
behind the Spurs.

Yao continue to lead the Rockets in scoring (26.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.9
rpg). He has has scored more than 30 points in three straight games and has
collected a double-double in all of the contests. The 7-6 center has scored in
double-digits in all 24 of Houston’s games and is averaging 27.3 points and
8.3 boards in his last 10 outings.

On Wednesday, the Portland Trail Blazers hope to extend their season-long
winning streak to five games when they welcome the Rockets to the Rose Garden.
Houston has won four of its last five at Portland. The Rockets have won nine
of the last 10 games in the series.

Houston plays the fourth of a five-game road trip against the Trail Blazers.
It is 1-2 on the swing. On Sunday, Yao scored a game-high 32 points, pulled
down 10 rebounds and dished out five assists to lead the Rockets to a 108-103
victory over the Clippers at the Staples Center.

Yao was 12-of-18 from the floor and made 8-of-9 from the charity stripe in the
victory over the Clippers for the Rockets, who snapped a three-game slide.
Rafer Alston contributed 26 points and eight assists, while Luther Head ended
with 14 points in the win.

On the injury front for Houston, All-Star guard Tracy McGrady (back spasms) is
doubtful for Wednesday contest. He has missed four straight games. McGrady is
averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and a team-best 6.3 assists. The
Rockets are 1-3 without McGrady, who missed 35 games last season.

The Rockets are 7-7 on the road this season. They will visit Tim Duncan and
the Spurs on Friday at the AT&T Center. It is the second meeting of the season
between the squads. On November 14th, Duncan scored 19 points and grabbed 15
rebounds to lead San Antonio to a 92-84 win over the Rockets at the Toyota

Houston has lost 17 straight after winning its last two at San Antonio. The
Rockets last victory in San Antonio was on March 11, 1997.

The Rockets are 6-2 when they score more than 100 points this season.