for this game

No McGrady, no problem as Rockets pound Grizzlies

Dec 29, 2007 - 5:09 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) - The Houston Rockets didn't need their leading scorer in the lineup Friday to knock off the struggling Memphis Grizzlies.

Yao Ming scored 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and reserve forward Luis Scola had a career-high 22 points off the bench to lead the Rockets to a 103-83 victory over the Grizzlies.

Former Grizzlies fan favorite Shane Battier added 18 points for Houston, which was without Tracy McGrady for the second time in four games.

"We need our confidence when we play without McGrady," said Ming, who added five blocked shots. "I know we struggle without McGrady, but he's still human and he can hurt us sometimes, too. We have to learn how to play without him."

McGrady, who's suffering from tendinitis in his left knee, also is expected to miss Houston's home game Saturday against Toronto.

However, the Rockets hardly missed him Friday, shooting 48 percent (43-of-89) from the field and leading by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.

"They had a great effort from Scola," first-year Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We have no confidence. We weren't thinking through the game."

Scola's production off the bench nearly matched the 24 points by the bench for the Grizzlies, who have lost four straight and 11 of their last 13 contests.

"We need to build a solid team and be able to win no matter what happens, if we want to do something big," said Scola, who finished 11-of-17 from the floor. "We need to have four or five people a night ready to step up and be the man, because if you don't have that, it's really difficult."

Houston finished with six players in double figures, including 10 points from rookie guard Aaron Brooks off the bench.

"It was a solid win for us," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "A lot of contributions from a lot of guys. Luis came in and had an unbelievable game. I've been encouraging him to run the floor and get his post-ups quickly because he's really quick in there. "I thought Aaron was really good, and the guys off the bench were very good, especially when we were able to get through that first half when we got in foul trouble a little bit."

Memphis was atrocious from the field in the first quarter, connecting on just 26 percent (6-of-23) of its shots to fall behind, 22-15, after one.

Yao, Battier and Chuck Hayes combined to go 7-of-11 from the field in the first quarter, matching Memphis' 15 first-quarter points between them.

Houston led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but with Yao and Hayes both forced to the bench with three fouls in the second quarter, Memphis used a 13-2 run to cut the Rockets' lead to 38-37 with 3:49 left in the first half.

Pau Gasol's two free throws with 1:12 left in the second quarter cut Houston's lead to one again (44-43), but the Rockets' responded by scoring the final six points of the half to lead, 50-43, at the break.

"We lost control of the game and they made some shots," Gasol said.

The Rockets led by 13 after the third quarter and went on a 10-2 run to take a 93-72 lead with 6:36 remaining in the fourth.

It was the first win in four games without McGrady this season for the Rockets, who were 2-9 without the seven-time All-Star last season.

"These superstars we have are great, they're unbelievable," Scola said. "But everybody has a bad game and everybody gets injured once in a while. You need to be able to win anyway."

Gasol finished with 23 points to lead Memphis, which has lost six of its last seven against Houston.

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