McGrady's driving dunk early in the fourth quarter made it
Sebastian Telfair's steal and layup pulled the Blazers to 78-71,
but Portland -- losers of seven of its last eight games -- couldn't
get any closer.
David Wesley's layup with 1:45 left gave the Rockets an 89-77
lead and many fans at the Rose Garden Arena started streaming
toward the exits.
Since McGrady returned from a strained back, the Rockets have
won three straight and four of their last five -- including a 106-95
victory Thursday night in Sacramento.
Without McGrady, who has been nagged by back pain since the
start of the season, Houston is 0-8.
Houston has won eight straight meetings with Portland, including
a pair of visits to the Rose Garden last season.
Houston center Yao Ming fouled out with 5 minutes left. He had
nine points and five rebounds. Wesley and Stromile Swift each had
Zach Randolph had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who
shot just 38 percent from the floor. Telfair had 17 points.
The Blazers had lost six in a row before a 98-95 victory Friday
night against visiting New Orleans.
Portland got a scare early when Telfair left the game with a
sprained right thumb. He came out in the second half with his hand
The Blazers are already depleted with leading scorer Darius
Miles out with a knee injury that will require minor surgery.
The two teams kept it close in the first half, but Derek
Anderson's 19-foot jumper at the buzzer gave Houston a 47-42 lead
at the break.
Rookie Martell Webster's 3-pointer pulled the Blazers to 49-47,
but the Rockets began to pull away, going on a 12-4 run capped by
Wesley's fast-break layup that made it 61-51.
Blazers center Theo Ratliff missed his second straight game
with a foot injury. ... Anderson, who played four seasons in
Portland before he was waived in the offseason, was greeted with
friendly applause from the sparse crowd. ... McGrady has had 35
points three times this season.