HOUSTON (AP) -- The game in hand, Tracy McGrady used the third
quarter against Golden State on Tuesday night to polish his
McGrady scored 13 of his 31 points in the quarter as the
Houston Rockets routed the Warriors 118-90.
"I was trying to do some explosive things that I haven't been
doing all year," said McGrady, who hit 13 of 25 shots and dished
out seven assists. "This was a great opportunity to go out and try
that because we had a comfortable lead. I'm just trying to take it
to another level now."
McGrady showed no effects from the concussion he suffered after
taking an elbow from teammate Dikembe Mutombo in Saturday's win
over Cleveland. In a 30-second sequence in the third quarter,
McGrady picked off a steal, drove for a breakaway layup, then hit a
3-pointer from the top of the key.
"I surprised myself tonight with some of the things I did," he
Yao Ming added 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the
Rockets, who've won six of their last seven games and six in a row
at the Toyota Center.
Yao manhandled Golden State's big men, making 12 of 17 shots,
most of them dunks and layups.
"This is my job, man," Yao said. "They put single coverage on
me. So all I had to do was catch the ball and go."
Houston was the fourth straight opponent to reach at least 108
points against Golden State. The Warriors came in allowing an
NBA-worst 106 points per game.
Monta Ellis scored 19 and Baron Davis added 18 points for the
Warriors, who've lost four in a row since coach Don Nelson earned
his 1,199th career victory. Nelson is trying to join Lenny Wilkens
as the only coaches to reach the 1,200-win plateau.
Nelson was in no mood to talk about the elusive milestone after
"We didn't play well offensively or pass or move the ball or
execute our game plan," he said. "We proved we are not ready to
play the best teams in the NBA."
The Rockets led by 15 after the first quarter, by 21 at the
break and 93-68 heading to the fourth quarter. Yao and McGrady sat
out nearly all of the final quarter.
The Warriors, the league's best shooting team, shot 39 percent
(32-of-82) against Houston's league-leading scoring defense.
"We just don't have it," Davis said. "We haven't been playing
with any passion. We have to be a hard-nosed team and that is not
happening. We're not a team right now and that has to change."
Guarded futilely at the start by 6-foot-11 Andris Biedrins, Yao
scored the Rockets' first 11 points, the last six on easy layups.
Troy Murphy, also 6-11, replaced Biedrins with 6:53 left in the
first quarter, but Yao promptly rebounded a McGrady miss and threw
down a one-handed dunk.
The Warriors, averaging 105 points per game, missed 12 of their
first 15 shots and trailed 26-7 8 minutes into the game.
Murphy hit a jumper from the free-throw line to end Golden
State's 3-minute scoring drought, but Yao answered with an easy
baseline jumper. He got a standing ovation as Howard replaced him
with 3:23 left in the quarter.
With Yao out, McGrady carried the Rockets' scoring, finishing
the quarter with 11 points. The Rockets led 35-20 after one, their
highest-scoring quarter of the season.
Yao returned in the second quarter and the Warriors resorted to
double-teaming him. But Yao still towered over all of Golden
State's defenders and caught a high pass from Luther Head for
another dunk and a 39-22 lead.
The Rockets went 10-of-10 from the free-throw line in the first
7 minutes of the second quarter and McGrady's 3-pointer with 5:03
left in the half put Houston up 56-28.
In the third quarter, Adonal Foyle took his turn defending Yao,
but Yao dropped in a hook shot, then assisted on McGrady's dunk
that put the Rockets up 79-54.
Anthony Roberson replaced Murphy in the lineup and made
his first start of the season. Murphy scored one point and grabbed
one rebound in 14 minutes in Monday's 129-89 loss to San Antonio.
... The Rockets topped 100 points for only the fourth time this
season. Their point total was a season high ... Rockets coach Jeff
Van Gundy continues to be vague about the status of offseason
pickup Bonzi Wells, who's been inactive for the last 14 games. Van
Gundy said Wells had a recent hamstring injury, but gave little
more explanation why Wells hasn't been playing. "The less I say,
the more likely it is to come to a positive conclusion," he said.