for this game

McGrady, Yao help Rockets to 11th straight win

Feb 23, 2008 - 6:00 AM By Michael Nissman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Not even the top team in the Western Conference could stop the surging Houston Rockets.

Tracy McGrady scored 34 points and Yao Ming added 28 as the Rockets posted their 11th straight win, a 100-80 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday.

The dynamic duo put their teammates on their backs and carried the Rockets to their longest winning streak since they opened the 1993-94 season with 15 consecutive victories en route to an NBA title.

"This was a terrific win for us," said Houston coach Rick Adelman, whose team set a franchise record with 10 straight road wins. "Our guys really came out to play. These guys have been playing so well, and really setting the tempo from the very start.

"It's probably one of our best games of the year in terms of start to finish, and I couldn't be more pleased with them."

McGrady was 14-of-26 from the floor and Yao shot 12-of-21 with 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who did not have another player reach double figures in scoring.

Rafer Alston was the main distributor, finishing with nine points and 11 assists for Houston.

The Rockets' stingy defense held the Hornets (37-16) - which had the Western Conference's best record entering Friday's play - to just 38 percent (24-of-63) from the floor.

"We just didn't come ready to play," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "And they just kicked our butt, and that's the bottom line."

Chris Paul had 14 points and 11 assists for the Hornets, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.

Paul, Peja Stojakovic and David West combined to average a majority of New Orleans' 111.8 points per game in the five-game winning streak. The trio scored just 42 points on Friday.

Adelman said the Rockets' focus was limiting Paul's contributions.

"I think the key is you gotta somehow contain Chris Paul," Adelman said. "Basically, we wanted to take away easy baskets from him and, obviously, staying with Peja and not giving him any looks."

"Chris Paul, he's awesome in the open floor," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "We did a good job loading into the ball every time he was on court."

West led the way with 20 points and Stojakovic was held to eight for the Hornets.

The Rockets opened the second quarter with a 16-5 run and took a 45-29 lead with 2:56 left in the half. Houston took a 51-35 lead at the break and cruised the rest of the way.

Hornets forward Rasual Butler said the difference was the Rockets were the aggressor.

"We were not as prepared as we needed to be," Butler said. "We kind of waited to see how they were going to play tonight instead of coming out and being aggressive. They pretty much set the tone on that."

Hornets center Tyson Chandler agreed.

"They threw the first punch and we never were able to catch up," said Chandler, who had nine points and nine rebounds.

The Hornets sent rookie guard Adam Haluska and guard Bobby Jackson to Houston in return for swingman Bonzi Wells and guard Mike James before Thursday's trade deadline. None of the players saw action in Friday's game.