Yao, Yi face off; McGrady, Rockets edge BucksFeb 3, 2008 - 5:46 AM By David Cotey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MILWAUKEE (Ticker) - It was billed as Yao Ming vs. Yi Jianlian Part II. But it turned into the "Tracy McGrady Show" instead.
With an estimated 200 million television viewers worldwide - more than are expected to watch Sunday's Super Bowl - McGrady scored 33 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 91-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
Yao added 12 points and 12 rebounds and Bonzi Wells and Rafer Alston added 10 points each for Houston, which completed its third consecutive season-series sweep of Milwaukee.
"It felt like everybody was on the same page and communicating with each other," McGrady said. "We played good defense by holding them to 38 percent shooting and this was a great win for us."
Winners of seven of their last eight, the Rockets went on a commanding 14-4 run over a 10-minute stretch between the second and third quarters to forge a 48-37 advantage. McGrady scored 10 in the run.
"It was a great feeling because, No. 1, my body felt good," McGrady said. "My knee didn't bother me at all. I felt really confident, healthy and confident on my feet."
The Bucks battled back before the third quarter concluded as Mo Williams scored nine of his 13 points in helping Milwaukee slice its deficit to 64-61.
Charlie Villanueva scored six of Milwaukee's first eight fourth-quarter points, including a putback with 9:47 left to take a 69-68 lead - its first of the second half.
But Houston closed the game out an impressive 23-14 surge with McGrady scoring eight straight points at one stage.
"(McGrady) makes good decisions down the stretch," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "Once he starts making jump shots, he's tough to guard."
Neither Yao nor Yi was able to get off to a fast start.
Yao managed just three points with three turnovers in the first half, while Yi made just 1-of-6 shots for six points before intermission.
"It's very exciting to have that number of fans watching," Yao said. "Both of us struggled a little bit, but we got the win. It is big but, to be honest, I was more nervous (Friday). That felt like a playoff game."
Yao and the Rockets won the first meeting between the Chinese superstars, 104-88, on November 9 in Houston.
"As far as we're concerned, it's a regular-season game," Yi said. "There are a lot of Chinese fans watching this game, but it's just a regular-season game."
Andrew Bogut scored 21 and Villanueva and Bobby Simmons added 14 and Yi finished with just six points for the Bucks, who are losers of 10 of their last 13 games.
"I thought the fade took place at the start of the third quarter, and we ran out of steam a little bit," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "It was a little bit of a boxing match going down the stretch, and we had some breakdowns defensively."
MILWAUKEE 83 FINAL
Feb 2 10:47 PM
MILWAUKEE 61 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 2 10:11 PM
MILWAUKEE 37 HALFTIME
Feb 2 9:34 PM
MILWAUKEE 20 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 2 9:04 PM
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