8:00 PM ET, November 12, 2006
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal was dominated, but he wasn't impressed.
Yao Ming dominated Shaquille O'Neal in Houston's 94-72 victory at Miami. Yao had 34 points and 14 rebounds to Shaq's 15 points and 10 rebounds.
It was the 945th regular-season game of O'Neal's career, and the first time that the opposition's starting center had outscored him by so wide a margin. Technically, the previous record was 16 points, set by the Bulls' Eddy Curry, who outscored Shaq, 16-0, on Feb. 22, 2005, but in a game in which O'Neal played only two minutes due to injury. The opposing center who had the next-widest scoring margin over Shaq (and the highest legitimate total) was David Robinson, who outscored O'Neal, 30-15, on March 19, 1993, in Shaq's rookie season.
Only one other center had ever had 34-or-more points and 14-or-more rebounds in a game against O'Neal -- and that guy did it twice. Patrick Ewing went 34-and-14 and 37-and-17 in separate games against The Rookie Big Aristotle in 1993.
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"He's pretty much the same, just big, 7-6," O'Neal said. "He's just doing what he's supposed to do."
Yao scored 20 points in the second half, when Houston outscored Miami by 25 points.
"My only chance against Shaq is to keep him on the run," Yao said. "Shaq is much stronger and bigger than me. My only chance on beating him is to keep running and running against him.
"Every time I score on him I was happy like a kid, like a kid getting candy on Halloween because it's really too hard to score on him, too hard. He's just great."
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 24 points, but had only eight in the second half, when Miami shot 33 percent.
"We were a little flat on offense, our offense wasn't as crisp," Wade said. "Yao hit some tough shots to give them the lead. They were good."
O'Neal's field goal early in the third quarter moved him past Patrick Ewing for 14th on the NBA's career scoring list with 24,817 points. But he finished with only 15 points and now has 24,820 in his career.
Yao frustrated the Heat with short jumpers and layups. He shot 11-of-19 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line. His second-half dominance revived the Rockets after their first-half struggles.
Tracy McGrady was only 6-of-18 from the field but finished with eight assists.
"That is the a sign of a good team, when you struggle offensively in the first half and you come out in the fourth quarter and do everything right," McGrady said.
"We did a good job defensively, we did a good job keeping them out of the lane and keeping them off the free throw line," Battier said.
After trailing nearly the entire first half, the Rockets outscored the Heat 21-14 in the third quarter and never trailed after Rafer Alston's 3-pointer for a 58-56 lead with 1:27 remaining in the period.
The Rockets ran off 11 straight points during the final 2:48 of the third quarter and first 1:39 of the fourth period for a 64-58 lead. Head hit consecutive 3-pointers and Yao's driving layup increased the Rockets' advantage to 76-66 with 5:21 remaining.
Kirk Snyder's two free throws with 1:27 remaining in the game finished another 11-point run and gave the Rockets a 91-70 lead.
"It was two different halves for us," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We got our heads handed to us in the second half."
The Rockets lost forward Chuck Hayes to a left knee injury when he collided with O'Neal with 5:05 remaining in the third period. Hayes was taken to the dressing room and didn't return.
After a brief 6-4 lead early in the game, the Rockets trailed most of the first half. But Yao scored six points and Shane Battier added four in a 10-2 run as Houston went ahead 36-35 with 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Gary Payton and Alston were each assessed technical fouls for their brief shoving match in front of the Miami bench with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Heat activated backup center Michael Doleac for Sunday's game. Doleac sat out the first five games with a sprained right ankle. To make room for Doleac, the Heat deactivated reserve center Earl Barron. ... Approximately 500 Rockets fans cheered their team from the end zone seats in the upper deck. ...The Rockets outrebounded the Heat 42-39, ending Houston's four-game streak of outrebounding opponents by double figures. ... Houston leads the all-time series 21-19.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||35-76 (.461)||28-71 (.394)|
|3PM-3PA||7-23 (.304)||4-17 (.235)|
|FTM-FTA||17-22 (.773)||12-21 (.571)|
|Fast Break Points||3||7|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (1/0)||19 (2/0)|