for this game

Yao, Scola lead as Rockets dispatch Bulls

Feb 4, 2009 - 5:56 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Having your stars on the court at the same time is nice, as long as one of them is Yao Ming.

Yao scored 28 points and Luis Scola collected 13 and 18 rebounds as the Houston Rockets took care of the Chicago Bulls, 107-100, on Tuesday.

"With (Yao), we know he's going be the emphasis and the other team is worried about him, and then you can run some other things because of his presence on the court," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "He's the only one we have, that around the basket, is going to make it difficult.

"If he stays back there around the rim, he's going to change shots and they are going to be a jump shooting team. So, there's no doubt that it (having Yao on the court) calms our team down."

Playing with each of their "Big Three" for just the third time since the calendar turned to 2009, the Rockets got contributions from Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest, who combined for 26 points on 12-of-23 shooting and 12 assists.

Houston hit 27-of-30 free-throw attempts en route to its second straight win.

Yao shot 9-of-12 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the line and scored six points during the pivotal third quarter. The Rockets clung to a 48-45 lead at the half before exploding for 31 points in the third to take a comfortable 79-66 edge into the final quarter.

"I have the confidence," Yao said. "I just needed to get my work in when I came back into the game in the fourth quarter. Obviously, we know how important it is and we've done this a lot before.

"I wanted to have the ball deep (in the paint) and try to draw the defense and double teams so that I could see that I could do something or just kick it out."

Luol Deng scored 28 points and Ben Gordon added 20 for the Bulls, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"Yao is very tough," Deng said. "We tried to double-team him. When they are healthy, they are a very dangerous team. Yao did a good job of knowing when our double-teams were coming. We weren't getting enough stops."

McGrady, who sat out the past two games with a sprained left ankle, started and played 28 minutes. He scored eight of his 16 points in the third quarter before sitting out most of the fourth.

"I was a little worried coming into the game because I didn't move extremely well in practice (Monday)," McGrady said.

"I got a good warm up and made sure that I was ready to go tonight. In the first quarter I kind of tweaked it (ankle) a little bit when I stepped on somebody's foot but I was just excited to be back on the basketball court. This is a pivotal time for our team. It's good to be back out there."

Aaron Brooks took over for the former All-Star in the final period, scoring nine of Houston's last 13 points to help hold off a late charge from Chicago. Brooks finished with 18 points off the bench and has total 40 in the past two games.

"I think it was a good win," Brooks said. "The Bulls were on a roll. I think we did a good job of limiting their transition and we finished it up in the fourth quarter."

After winning its last three games by an average of 17 points while shooting at least 47 percent in each contest, the Bulls were held to 42 percent (39-of-92) from the floor and 62 percent (17-of-28) from the free-throw line to fall to 3-2 on their seven-game road trip.

"Our guys hung in and our turnovers were kept down for the game," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I was happy to get out of the game in the first half. When the ball goes inside to Yao, everyone else feeds off him. The foul trouble hurt us and we tried to go small and run and get up tempo.

"Houston made shots and plays. We got hesitant and that hurt us. Give Houston credit, they made plays when they had to."