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McGrady, Rockets keep rolling with rout of Warriors

Dec 6, 2006 - 4:22 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- In his last game, Tracy McGrady was sent home. The Golden State Warriors wished he never showed up.

Back from a concussion, McGrady scored 31 points and Yao Ming added 27 as the Houston Rockets routed the slumping Warriors, 118-90, for their sixth win in seven games.

Juwan Howard had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who shot a blistering 54 percent (45-of-84) from the field and 22-of-28 from the line to send sluggish Golden State to its fourth straight loss.

Despite the impressive win, Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy wants to see his team put forth the same effort at Minnesota on Wednesday.

"This back-to-back thing in the NBA is all (garbage). It's mental, not physical. It's, 'Are you ready to play? Are you professional? Do you give games away by your mental preparation or not?'" Van Gundy said. "So we have been like every other team in this league to date back-to-back. Say you're ready, not be ready, give the other team a cushion, try to come back, fail. So it's really a mental thing. It's better than practicing."

In the first quarter of Saturday's contest against Cleveland, McGrady was struck by an elbow from teammate Dikembe Mutombo. He suffered a Grade 1 concussion, nearly collapsing en route to the locker room before being sent home.

"I felt pretty good in the Cleveland game but that game was cut short, so this was a good opportunity for me to come out and try things out because we had a comfortable lead," McGrady said. "In clutch situations in the fourth quarter, it's going to be me and Yao to close out games. I'm just trying to take it to another level."

On Tuesday, the superstar swingman shot 13-of-25 from the floor and dished out seven assists, showing no ill effects of the collision. McGrady displayed his full arsenal, shooting from the perimeter and torching the Warriors with drives to the basket.

"I feel like I am as explosive as I was before," McGrady said. "In terms of stats, I think I surprised myself with some of the things I did. It's all about gaining confidence in areas and to keep getting better day by day."

"Tracy was playing full of confidence and he played like you've seen Tracy play the last couple of years," Yao said. "He played the way he played against the Mavericks in the playoffs (in 2005)."

Yao was 12-of-17 from the field and grabbed eight boards for the Rockets, which outrebounded the Warriors, 52-35. The 7-5 center scored Houston's first 11 points and 15 of its first 21, helping open a 35-20 lead after one quarter.

"I'm just doing my job," Yao said. "The Warriors put single coverage on me, so I tried to catch the ball and go. When I thought they were going to double-team, I would look and see just one man."

Monta Ellis scored 19 points for the Warriors, who shot just 39 percent (32-of-82) and allowed 62 points in the paint. They were outscored by 68 points in a two-game trek through Texas.

"We didn't play well," Ellis said. "We've got to regroup. They played well, they had a great game plan, but we've got to get some wins together and keep our confidence."

"We're struggling right now. We're just not ready to play the best teams on the road at this point," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "We've beaten some good teams this year, but it was at home and the planets were aligned just right. The Rockets are for real. We certainly had no answer for anything they were doing. They're one of the best defensive teams we have played all year."

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