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Rockets top Hawks without injured Yao

Oct 14, 2006 - 4:17 AM LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Ticker) -- Even without Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets were in midseason form.

Luther Head scored 20 points and Kirk Snyder and Rafer Alston netted 15 apiece as the Rockets posted a 107-93 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in a preseason contest.

Last season, Ming and two-time scoring champ Tracy McGrady each missed considerable time with injuries, preventing them from being on the court simultaneously for much of the campaign. The Rockets' offense suffered, and a team many thought could challenge for a championship missed the playoffs with a 34-48 mark.

While Yao continues to recover from toe surgery, McGrady thrived, scoring 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting in just 17 minutes. His performance helped the Rockets take a 65-40 halftime lead.

Head hit 8-of-16 shots off the bench - including four 3-pointers - in 30 minutes. Snyder, who played with the New Orleans Hornets last season, made 5-of-10 shots for Houston, which rebounded after Tuesday's 79-65 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Josh Smith scored 18 points, Joe Johnson added 17 and Marvin Williams 16 for the Hawks, who suffered their first preseason loss after defeating Memphis on Wednesday.

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