Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 10/11

Game 1: Tuesday, October 11th

Rockets 105

(1-0, 1-0 away)

76ers 91

(0-1, 0-1 home)

7:00 PM ET, October 11, 2005

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 21 33 28 23105
PHI 25 31 26 991

Houston 105, Philadelphia 91

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Yao Ming and Houston's spirited reserves spoiled Maurice Cheeks' return to Philadelphia.

Ming scored 19 points and Tracy McGrady added 15 to lead the Rockets to a 105-91 victory over the 76ers on Tuesday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

"I didn't like being on the losing end the first time," said Cheeks, the first-year coach who played 11 years with the Sixers. "It was good to get this game over with, actually."

Derek Anderson scored 13 points and Juwan Howard had 10 for the Rockets.

Allen Iverson led the Sixers with 23 points and Andre Iguodala scored 16. Kyle Korver had 10 points, six assists and six rebounds.

"Everybody's trying to get better, even myself," Iverson said.

The Sixers played without starters Chris Webber, who sat out as a precaution after he was kneed in the thigh during Monday's practice, and Samuel Dalembert, who was bothered by a strained quad that kept him out of nearly all of training camp.

Steven Hunter started at center and Michael Bradley was at power forward for the Sixers.

Webber, Dalembert and injured forward Shavlik Randolph will not travel with the Sixers to their preseason game against San Antonio on Wednesday night in Columbia S.C.

Houston pulled away midway through the fourth quarter, with Luther Head's 3-pointer capping an 18-8 run. Head later added a short jumper for a 99-89 lead and the rookie from Illinois finished with 13 points in his debut.

Head was one of the many reserves who played almost the entire fourth quarter after the starters for both teams played the bulk of the third. Anderson and Head led a Houston bench that scored 51 points.

"The young guys did well," McGrady said. "It's important that they come in and run sets, play defense and try not to do too much."

Without their usual frontcourt presence, the Sixers were outrebounded 39-33 and grabbed only four offensive boards.

The loss spoiled Cheeks' coaching debut, who returned to the organization where he was an All-Star point guard and his retired No. 10 jersey hangs from the rafters.

Cheeks, who led Philadelphia to its last championship in 1983, was greeted warmly by the sparse crowd during pregame introductions.

Cheeks was a popular choice to replace Jim O'Brien, who was fired after only one season.

"It's been a long time coming, from back in March to now," Cheeks said. "I'm glad it's here. It feels familiar."

That wasn't the only familiar part.

Iguodala certainly picked up with his spectacular dunks where he left off last season. There was little need to pay attention to the highlight reel of last year's dunks, complete with Onyk's "Slam!" as the musical accompaniment, when Iguodala was wowing the crowd in person.

There was a reverse alley-oop off a pass from Korver and another high-flying, out-of-nowhere slam near the end of the second quarter. On the next possession, he ended the half with -- what's this? -- a rare jumper at the buzzer for a 56-54 lead.

"That was just an instinct play with the clock going down," said a smiling Iguodala.

Randolph will miss another two to four weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot. Randolph was hurt in the first practice on the first day of camp and was originally listed with a sprained left foot, including on Tuesday's injury report.

Cheeks said before the game the injury was much more serious.

The Sixers released guard-forward Ime Udoka after the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press