Monday , Mar , 05 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Yao expected to return for Rockets against Cavs

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets are expected to get a big boost
tonight, as they try and get back on the winning track when they open a brief
two-game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

All-Star center Yao Ming is expected to return to the lineup tonight. Yao
leads the Rockets in scoring (25.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg), but suffered
a fractured right tibia during a 98-93 loss on December 23rd to the Los
Angeles Clippers. Houston was 20-12 without Yao.

Houston, which is fifth in the Western Conference standings, has dropped three
of its last four games, including Saturday’s 97-74 loss to the San Antonio
Spurs at the Toyota Center.

Tracy McGrady netted 21 points for the Rockets, who have lost three straight
at home. Kirk Snyder added 14 points in a losing effort. Houston will now hit
the road to Cleveland and Boston, and is 16-13 as the visitor this season.

Rockets guard Bonzi Wells (foot) is questionable for Monday’s game against
Cleveland. Wells has missed the last two games.

Meanwhile, the Cavs have won two of their last three games and recorded a
120-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

LeBron James scored 36 points on 10-of-20 shooting to lead Cleveland in the
opener of a short two-game homestand. Larry Hughes scored 27 points and
Anderson Varejao notched 14 points and 11 boards for the Cavs, who are 22-8 at
home this season and second in the Eastern Conference.

Shannon Brown also netted 14 points and Donyell Marshall chipped in 12 points
and nine boards in the winning effort.

Monday’s showdown between Houston and Cleveland is the second and final
meeting of the regular season. The Rockets won the first matchup, 81-63, on
December 2 at the Toyota Center. Yao led Houston with 24 points.

Houston has won six of seven and seven of the last nine meetings. It has won
three straight after losing its last two at Cleveland.