NBA Game Summary - Houston at Portland
(Wednesday, March 30th)
Final Score: Houston 100, Portland 84
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Yao Ming scored 29 points and Tracy McGrady netted 26 as Houston cruised to a 100-84 victory over Portland at the Rose Garden.
McGrady pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds as well for the Rockets, who have won five of their last six games and moved a half game in front of Sacramento for fifth place in the Western Conference playoff race. The Kings fell 99-82 at Detroit earlier in the night.
"Any time you win it�s good.," said Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy. "We started the season 4-8 on the road, and since then, something clicked. I can't figure it out."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the lowly Trail Blazers, who have dropped nine of 10 and 15 of 17. Travis Outlaw had 15 points off the bench, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
"We ran into a buzz-saw tonight," said Blazers interim head coach Kevin Pritchard. "You look their two superstars - I think they were 23-for-38 for 26 and 29 points. We're not going to win too many games with their superstars playing that well."
Yao poured in 12 points in the game's opening six minutes to help stake Houston to a 31-21 lead heading into the final seconds of the first quarter. Back-to-back baskets from Damon Stoudamire, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, cut the Blazers' deficit to five.
Scott Padgett and McGrady then drained triples during an 8-0 run to start the second quarter as the Rockets built a 39-26 advantage. Portland fought back and got to within 51-45 on Adbur-Rahim's three-pointer with just under three minutes remaining before intermission, but Houston closed out the half with a 6-2 spurt to take a 10-point lead into the break.
"We just didn't want to come in and take these guys lightly," said McGrady. "They gave us a run the last time we played them. "Tonight I told Yao that he needs to set the tone early and he answered that."
The Trail Blazers got as close as eight points down in the third quarter, but McGrady had five points during a 9-1 flurry which put the Rockets up 74-58 with around 4 1/2 minutes left in the period. Padgett's three-pointer with 26 seconds remaining in the frame sent Houston into the final 12 minutes with a cozy 83-64 lead.
The margin got as high as 25 points after Yao hit a short hook with just under eight minutes left to make the score 94-69. Portland never got closer than the final tally.
Portland played minus three players: Center Theo Ratliff had a sore right shoulder, guard Derek Anderson had a sore back and forward Darius Miles sprained a finger on his right hand...Houston, which has taken seven straight from the Blazers, swept Portland for the first time in a season since 1993-94...The Rockets have held opponents under 100 points in 20 of their last 23 games...The Trail Blazers fell to 4-13 on Wednesdays.
03/31 01:38:04 ET