97 - 107 Final
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Scola, Landry help Rockets muscle Raptors

Mar 4, 2009 - 6:00 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Carl Landry provided the inside punch. Yao Ming was there for his sense of humor.

Landry tied his season high with 22 points and added six rebounds as the Houston Rockets posted a thorough 107-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

"Actually I'm not happy about (Landry) coming back, my minutes are going down," joked Yao, who referred to Landry missing five games with ankle injury last month.

Truthfully, the Chinese center played well himself.

Yao had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Luis Scola collected 20 and 16 for the Rockets, who have won 10 straight at home.

But he didn't stop poking fun - this time, at himself and Scola.

"He's really effective for us," Yao said of Landry. "He brings us a lot of energy. He gives us a different option. Me and Luis play almost standing on the ground. Jump off the ground two inches.

"Carl Landry is different. He gives you a lot of highlight plays. Even last year he had some nice moves. He's improved a lot since last year."

In fact, Houston seems comfortable without injured star Tracy McGrady, who will miss the rest of the season after undergoing microfracture knee surgery. The Rockets have won eight of their nine games since he announced his intention to sit out the rest of the way.

Houston's success without one of its top players should not come as a shock. The team has gotten used to playing without him while he has missed an average of 21 games over the past three years.

Last season, the Rockets reeled off the second-longest winning streak in NBA history without Yao, whose absence allowed for an emergence from some young role players. It has been more of the same this campaign.

"It's always tough sitting out, not being able to play with your teammates," said Landry, one of those young stars. "It was a really bad (right) ankle sprain. I stayed with the trainers.

"I stayed icing it. I wanted to get back so bad, so I did everything I could. It's still sore. I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but we're getting there."

Houston used a 14-2 run - with Yao scoring three baskets - to rally from a 31-24 deficit and go ahead, 38-33, early in the second quarter. The Rockets were not in much danger the rest of the way.

"We came out of the gates early, but we didn't sustain our energy," Raptors forward Shawn Marion said. "After they got the lead in the second half, we couldn't come back."

The Raptors took a brief lead in the third quarter, when Chris Bosh scored six straight points to give his team a 66-64 lead with 6:24 left in the period.

Houston, however, ended the period on a 13-4 run, as Scola and Landry combined for 10 points during the spurt. Newly acquired Kyle Lowry capped the burst with a 3-pointer with six seconds left in third en route to the Rockets' 77-72 lead entering the fourth.

They finished off Toronto by outscoring it, 30-25, over the final 12 minutes.

"We tried to play faster in the first quarter and it was working," Raptors guard Jose Calderon said. "But they kept making plays. We played good for the most part of the game, but we couldn't finish.

"I felt comfortable. I was finding our guys, and they were hitting shots."

Bosh scored 25 points and Calderon added 10 and 16 assists for the Raptors, who were outrebounded, 40-30.

Houston's reserves also outscored Toronto's bench, 44-16.

"Our guys play with a lot of energy at home," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "It's up to the home team to get the crowd going. You can't have it the other way around."