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Yao, Rockets keep Grizzlies winless on road

Nov 26, 2006 - 4:26 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Yao Ming didn't want anything to do with the Memphis Grizzlies getting their first road win in Houston.

Yao scored 11 of his 28 points in the decisive third quarter and Tracy McGrady added 19 and a career high-tying 13 assists as the Rockets extended the Grizzlies' struggles on the road with an 85-76 victory.

Memphis entered the contest with an 0-6 road record and were the second straight visitor to leave the Toyota Center still winless away from home. On Wednesday, Houston pushed Washington's road mark to 0-6 with an 86-82 win.

Houston entered third quarter facing a 39-37 deficit before going on a 14-6 surge to start the frame. A jumper by Rafer Alston ignited the burst that Yao continued with a dunk, a layup and a run-capping slam for a 51-45 lead with 8:30 left in the period.

"You cannot find anything better than that, getting the ball deep in the paint under the basket. I just put my hands up (and scored). I'm not Stromile (Swift). I only jump this high," said Yao while holding his fingers a couple of inches apart.

"It doesn't matter who we play," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We're going to try to go inside to Yao."

The Rockets held a 65-54 advantage entering the final 12 minutes and never looked back.

McGrady played the role of setup man in the Rockets' third straight win.

"It's fun, especially when you're winning," McGrady said of passing the ball. "I take a lot of pride in that, trying to make my teammates better. It's great to draw two guys to you and see your teammates open."

"He (McGrady) is always been like that from the day we got him," Van Gundy said. "His vision, his unselfishness are very good. I've never understood the selfish tag. I've never seen it. He easily could have had five or six more (assists tonight)."

Hakim Warrick scored 12 points and rookie Rudy Gay and Chucky Atkins both finished with 11 for the Grizzlies, who lost the opener of a three-game trek.

"In the first half, we played well defensively and passed the ball well," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "In the second half, we turned the ball over and missed too many shots. We let the game get away from us."

Memphis committed eight turnovers after the break.

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