McGrady, Yao Carry Rockets Past Sonics
Houston 100, Seattle 77
HOUSTON, Feb. 3 (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming gave fans of the Houston Rockets a glimpse of what can happen when they both are healthy at the same time.
McGrady scored 36 points and Yao added 24 as the Rockets rolled to a 100-77 triumph over the Seattle SuperSonics.
"I don't know what it is about my shot here in this building, but tonight I was fortunate enough to knock down shots that helped us get the win," McGrady said. "I wanted to come out in the third quarter and really impose my will on that team."
The All-Star combination of McGrady and Yao has played just 16 games together this season because of injuries. McGrady was sidelined for 13 games with a back injury, while Yao played in just his third contest since coming back from toe surgery that shelved him for 21 contests.
"It starts always with the two best guys (Yao and McGrady) and their energy level," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Tracy McGrady obviously was very efficient tonight, and when he is efficient, we as a team have a better chance of being efficient."
Trailing, 24-21, after one quarter, the Rockets rallied in the second period behind McGrady's nine points to take a 48-43 lead into intermission.
Houston took control in the third quarter by outscoring Seattle, 25-14. McGrady and Yao combined to score 20 points while the Rockets' defense held the SuperSonics to 5-of-19 (26 percent) shooting.
"The shots were just falling, and as a team, we had great intensity to start the game," McGrady said. "I think if we start to do that on a more consistent basis - and dominate like we did in the third quarter - we are going to be all right."
Yao, who added 14 rebounds, believed taking control of the third quarter and playing as a team were the driving forces behind the win.
"We limited their shots and we were able to get easy scores in transition," Yao said. "We played very well on the defensive side and we moved the ball well offensively. Tracy shot the ball very well and Rafer Alston's 11 assists helped us win."
Ray Allen scored 23 points and Rashard Lewis added 21 for Seattle, which had won four of its previous six games. The Sonics are 0-2 against the Rockets this season and have allowed at least 100 points in both games.
"I thought the first quarter was good ,and after that, we were bad," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "We turned the ball over and didn't shoot well. We stunk it up, and as a team, we had a bad night."
Lewis, a Houston native, agreed and added that his team played selfishly.
"We had a lot of turnovers and didn't pass the ball around," Lewis said. "We weren't playing hard and were just kind of going through the motions. I thought we gave this game away."