Yao, Rockets crush hapless KingsFeb 12, 2009 - 5:25 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Some pregame bad news certainly did not affect the Houston Rockets on the court.
Yao Ming collected 24 points and 18 rebounds and Luis Scola added 19 and 11 as the Rockets rolled over the Sacramento Kings, 94-82, on Wednesday.
Ron Artest added 19 points and Rafer Alston had 13 assists for Houston, which was playing without Tracy McGrady due to a balky left knee.
McGrady, who has missed 16 games this season while trying to rehabilitate his knee after last May's surgery, underwent an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed no change in the injury from prior diagnosis.
"I got an MRI this morning, and we didn't like what we saw," McGrady said. "I have to wait it out."
The seven-time All-Star is expected to seek additional medical opinions in the coming days and is out indefinitely.
"Last year, I was out for the year," Yao said. "People need to think about that and how we kept rolling. Obviously, that's a loss for us with (McGrady) missing games, but we have to keep playing with what we have."
After a sluggish first half that saw neither team reach 40 points, Houston found its offense without McGrady.
"It was good to get the win before the break," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "I felt the first half we kept them in the game with the turnovers - the foolish turnovers. We had a little spurt at the end of the second quarter, and in the third quarter, we were much better.
"We played much better. We pushed the ball better. We took care of the ball, got the ball into Yao. We played much better in the second half than we did in the first half."
Yao scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Rockets pulled away. Up 39-35 at the break, Artest drilled a 3-pointer on Houston's first possession of the third to spark a 28-10 run.
"We really focused on our defense and we started moving the ball on the offensive end," Artest said. "We were able to really pick it up in the third quarter."
The Rockets increased the lead to as much as 79-58 on Brent Barry's 3-pointer with 9:34 left in the game, after which most of the starters took the rest of the night off.
"Tonight we played some defense, which is very important," Yao said. "Now, we are getting an All-Star break. I think that we need to think about what kind of game we want to play. Would we like to play how we did in (a loss at) Milwaukee or would we like to play how we did tonight on the defensive end? I think we all know the answer to that question."
Kevin Martin scored 18 points for the Kings, who dropped their fifth straight while getting outrebounded, 42-29, and shooting 3-of-12 from beyond the arc.
"I thought we made some strides and played really well in the first half," Sacramento interim coach Kenny Natt said. "We put them on the line too much. We have to work hard for 48 minutes and 36 minutes just will not get the job done.
"That third quarter was a big blow for us. Our guys were not passing the ball and playing together as a team. We tend to take too many isolation shots, and when they are not falling, we get into trouble."
HOUSTON 94 FINAL
Feb 11 10:55 PM
HOUSTON 74 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 11 10:24 PM
HOUSTON 39 HALFTIME
Feb 11 9:33 PM
HOUSTON 22 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 11 9:02 PM
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