Yao, Rockets pound Nets without McGradyFeb 18, 2009 - 5:51 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Without Tracy McGrady, the Houston Rockets spread the wealth. They may have to play that way for the rest of the season.
Yao Ming had 20 points and 12 rebounds while Ron Artest and Shane Battier combined to score 37 points as the shorthanded Rockets routed the New Jersey Nets, 114-88, on Tuesday night.
According to a report by ESPN on Tuesday night, McGrady will be out for the rest of the season thanks to a nagging right knee injury.
The news came after players and coaches had left the arena, where Houston coach Rick Adelman was happy with his team's play without McGrady.
"I was pleased with the ball movement," Adelman said. "Twenty-seven assists is what you want. From the first quarter on, we really picked it up. We had really good ball movement and Shane was the recipient of that."
"We had a great game passing the ball," Battier said. "We got good spacing. When you move the ball like that, everyone gets shots. You get more confidence in your shooting. We played offense the way we're supposed to do it. We're not surprised."
Von Wafer scored 19 points off the bench for the Rockets, who have made a habit of playing without McGrady (left knee). The seven-time All-Star has missed 19 games this season because of the knee, which was surgically repaired during the offseason.
Without part of its "Big Three," Houston still was able to sweep its matchup against New Jersey, which has lost six straight in the series.
Vince Carter scored 30 points and Brook Lopez added 21 and nine rebounds for the Nets, who got just five points from Yi Jianlian. The Chinese forward played against countryman and Olympic teammate Yao, with the duo providing the country's two most prominent basketball names.
"I knew it was his first game back from a hand injury would be hard," Yao said of Yi. "At halftime, I told him to take it easy. I know the last couple of years when I come back from an injury, my wind was really horrible. I felt like a newborn."
Yao's dunk with 2:45 left in the first quarter gave the Rockets the lead for good and helped them on their way to a 27-17 advantage after one. They finished the period on a 17-0 run, with five of the last seven coming from Artest, who sandwiched a layup and three around a hook by Yao.
Houston also finished strong in the second quarter, when Battier drilled a 3-pointer with one tick left en route to a 56-40 lead at intermission. The team also held a 19-point lead entering the fourth.
"We fought back, (but) midway through the second quarter they knocked down shots and we never recovered," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Look at their rebounding and their 3-point shooting.
"They got the best of our inside guys. It's tough for our young guys, having to battle these veteran players."
Houston outrebounded New Jersey, 56-30, and shot 15-of-29 from the arc.
The Rockets, who held that double-digit advantage for most of the contest, kept their collective foot on the gas in the final period, when they engineered a 15-2 run. Houston capped the spurt with Luis Scola's layup to make it 107-80 with 2:31 left - the largest lead of the game to that point.
Aaron Brooks' jumper with 32 ticks left provided the largest advantage in the contest, 114-86, before Yi's dunk helped reach the final margin with 21 seconds remaining.
New Jersey appeared to be heading toward the All-Star break red-hot before dropping its last two games to spoil a season-high, four-game winning streak. That slide continued in this one.
That poor play cannot be traced to Carter, who shot 11-of-21 from the field despite trade rumors swirling around him. The NBA's deadline for deals is Thursday at 3 p.m. EST.
He did not want to talk about potential deals but instead the Nets' lack of perimeter defense.
"We gave up a lot of 3-pointers," Carter said. "We have to focus for 48 minutes, and they took the life out of us tonight."
All-Star Devin Harris scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Nets, who have a quick turnaround at Dallas on Wednesday night.
NEW JERSEY 88
HOUSTON 114 FINAL
Feb 17 10:43 PM
NEW JERSEY 65
HOUSTON 84 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 17 10:16 PM
NEW JERSEY 40
HOUSTON 56 HALFTIME
Feb 17 9:35 PM
NEW JERSEY 17
HOUSTON 27 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 17 9:03 PM
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