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Yao, McGrady help Rockets improve to 3-0

Nov 4, 2007 - 3:16 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Yao Ming had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Tracy McGrady scored 20 points as the Houston Rockets posted an 89-80 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

After being sent home in the first round of the postseason the past two seasons, the Rockets brought in experienced coach Rick Adelman to finally get the franchise over the hump.

So far the Rockets are undefeated at 3-0 - the first time since the 1996-97 campaign - and have averaged 96.6 points through three games behind McGrady, who is shooting a blistering 50 percent (36-of-70) from the field.

However, Adelman expressed concern about his team's offensive stagnation at times.

"I think we were trying to go to Yao, and he's got to make quicker and better decisions," he said. "We didn't execute like we should have. The only thing that was good about the night offensively was that we had 23 assists and only 10 turnovers."

Houston wasted little time taking care of business in this one as it opened the game on a commanding 21-8 burst, capped by Mike James' 3-pointer with 1:35 left. McGrady poured in 10 points during the surge.

"For the most part, we were ready to go in the first quarter," McGrady said. "They cut into the lead, but the main thing is we got the win."

Brandon Roy's 15-footer trimmed the Trail Blazers' deficit to 54-46 at the 6:11 mark in the third. But Houston responded with an 8-0 run to push the advantage back to double figures and never looked back.

"I'm not satisfied with the way we executed down the stretch, turning the ball over and not making adjustments to their defense," McGrady said. "We could have put this game away in the third quarter, and we didn't do that."

Roy was obviously frustrated that the Trail Blazers played from behind all night.

"We can't let teams get off to these fast starts against us," Roy said. "We've got to be more forceful and not retaliate. We've just got to play harder. We're back in the game when we got it down to eight, but you know Yao or Tracy is going to make a shot."

James was once again stellar off the bench, scoring 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting. The 6-2 guard was acquired in an offseason trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Juwan Howard.

James knows the Rockets will need a more consistent effort when they take on intrastate rivals San Antonio and Dallas next week.

"Dallas is one of the top teams in the NBA and San Antonio is the world champions," James said. "So this is definitely going to be a good test for us.

"We have problems (scoring) the ball at times. If we don't score, we can't allow the other team to score. If we have a drought, we have to make sure the other team has a drought."

Roy netted 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 and eight boards for Portland, which returns home on Wednesday with the hopes of picking up its first win this season against the New Orleans Hornets.

"We had good looks in the first half, but we couldn't knock down shots," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "The second half, we were looking for some energy, some scrappiness."

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