for this game

Yao, McGrady lift Rockets past Bobcats

Dec 9, 2006 - 2:44 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Houston Rockets dominated on offense in the first half. Their defense held strong all game.

The Rockets set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a 92-62 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats as Tracy McGrady scored 23 points and Yao Ming netted 21.

Houston's previous best defensive effort was 63 against Cleveland on December 2 and Utah on January 3, 2004. The Rockets limited the Bobcats to 28 percent (23-of-81) shooting.

Playing without injured Brevin Knight and Matt Carroll, the Bobcats were held to a franchise low.

"This shows what type of team we can be if we play with that kind of approach every night," McGrady said. "I think we can be great defensively night in and night out because we have a coach that demands it and the structure to play that way."

"When we play energetic defense, I think we can be pretty good," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Shane (Battier) is a very good defender and he's very disciplined. We did some good things tonight, but I think Charlotte's injuries were an impact as well."

The Rockets also shut down Bobcats rookie Adam Morrison, who was 1-of-11 from the field for two points. The forward is 3-for-26 for eight points over the last three games.

"I'm trying to get myself going and go to the basket and get to the free-throw line," Morrison said. "I've had some good shots, I just haven't knocked them down. I guess I just have to go the basket tougher and maybe I'll start getting calls."

Juwan Howard scored 12 points and Rafer Alston added 10 for Houston, which never trailed, shot 44 percent (37-of-84) from the field and held a 51-46 advantage on the backboards.

The Rockets pulled away in the opening quarter with a 10-0 run capped by Howard's layup that made it 19-7. McGrady and Yao each had 17 points at halftime as Houston held a 52-31 advantage.

"That's how you play the game in the first half," Yao said. "As you know, we have four games in five nights. Tonight was the third game. Road games are hard, so that makes us better prepared when we play them. This was a good win for us."

The Rockets continued their dominance in the second half. Two free throws by McGrady capped an 8-0 spurt and gave Houston a 67-37 bulge.

"There was a little spurt at the beginning of the third quarter and at that time Houston had a rhythm going," Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "They have two answers, the big guy (Yao) who turns around and shoots and Tracy. Everybody basically feeds off of them."

Raymond Felton scored 16 points for Charlotte, which committed 21 turnovers.

"Unfortunately we came out slow tonight on a great team, a team who executed well, a team who played great team ball," Felton said. "They came out and took advantage of everything. They took advantage of our slow start when we had no energy and exploded off that. It was hard to get back."

  • NBA
    HOUSTON 92

    Dec 8 9:16 PM

  • NBA
    HOUSTON 77

    Dec 8 8:48 PM

  • NBA
    HOUSTON 52

    Dec 8 8:10 PM

  • NBA
    HOUSTON 31

    Dec 8 7:39 PM