Friday , Dec , 29 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets need T-Mac to step it up

(Sports Network) – With All-Star center Yao Ming sidelined with a fractured
bone in his right knee, the Houston Rockets are looking to Tracy McGrady to
take over.

The Rockets are 17-12 and are in third place in the Southwest Division. They
trail the division-leading Dallas Mavericks by five games.

Yao, who leads the Rockets in scoring (25.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg),
suffered a non displaced fracture in a bone under his right knee during
a 98-93 loss on December 23rd to the Los Angeles Clippers. He is not expected
to have surgery, but will most likely miss at least six weeks of action.

Houston is 1-1 without Yao. McGrady, who had been sidelined with back spasms
and returned to the lineup the game after Yao’s injury, has averaged 18
points, three rebounds and 5.5 assists in the two contests without the
talented big man.

On Friday, the struggling Atlanta Hawks play the first of a three-game road
trip as they visit the Rockets at the Toyota Center. It is the first of two
contests between the clubs this season. The Hawks are scheduled to host
Houston on February 23, 2007 at Philips Arena. Atlanta has lost seven straight
and 13 of its last 14 at Houston. The teams have split the last four meetings
in the series.

Houston begins a four-game homestand against the Hawks. On Wednesday, Shane
Battier had 23 points, including a career-best seven three-pointers, and also
pulled down nine rebounds as the Rockets crushed the New Jersey Nets, 96-71,
at Continental Airlines Arena.

McGrady added 17 points and dished out six assists, while Rafer Alston poured
in 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win over New Jersey for
the Rockets, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Rockets are 8-3 at home this season. They are also scheduled to host
Memphis, Seattle and Utah on the current homestand.

McGrady is averaging 19.1 points 5.3 rebounds and a team-best 6.2 assists in
22 games this season. He has registered double-digits in scoring 19 times and
has collected four double-doubles.