NBA Game Summary - Houston at New Jersey
(Friday, December 7th)
Final Score: Houston 96, New Jersey 89
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Yao Ming scored 25 points, gripped 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Houston Rockets to a relatively painless 96-89 victory over the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center.
Tracy McGrady had 24 points and six assists for Houston, which never trailed en route to its second straight win overall and fifth in its last five trips to North Jersey.
Rafer Alston added 15 points and Shane Battier stuffed the statsheet with 12 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Houston has won five of its last seven, and will continue its tour of the Atlantic Division with stops in Toronto and Philadelphia.
"We know what type of team (the Nets) can be if they get comfortable," McGrady said. "They can run us out the gym with the speed that they have, the point guard they have. We didn't want that to happen. We didn't let them get too comfortable."
Vince Carter dropped a season-high 32 to go with seven rebounds for the Nets, and Richard Jefferson went for 29, but New Jersey got little else outside of those two and Jason Kidd.
Kidd, returning from a one-game absence due to migraines, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but his presence wasn't enough to keep the Nets from falling for the third time in their last four games.
Houston led by as many as 13 early in the fourth, but when Jefferson got into the lane and dropped a baby hook, the Nets were within nine at 77-68 with 6 1/2 minutes to go. The Rockets used a 9-3 spurt to go up 86-71, and the Nets never got closer than seven the rest of the way as Houston salted the game away at the foul line.
Bostjan Nachbar had 10 points and four rebounds off the bench for New Jersey.
"We're trying to come back from such a deficit every single game," said Jefferson. "When you're trying to come back from a deficit night after night, sometimes you don't have your legs."
Houston rode McGrady, who had 13 first-quarter points, to a 28-18 lead heading into the second. The Rockets closed the half on a 9-2 burst, highlighted by back-to-back McGrady threes, to take a 48-33 lead into the locker room.
New Jersey pulled within seven, at 48-41, on Jefferson's three-ball with just over 10 minutes to go in the third, but Houston quickly ripped off 13 of the next 17 to go up 61-45 midway through, and led 70-60 heading to the fourth.
Yao has 12 double-doubles on the season, and McGrady has scored 20-plus 11 times this season...The last time New Jersey beat Houston at home was March 31, 2003...Jefferson went 6-for-6 from the foul line, marking the sixth time this season he's had a perfect night from the stripe.
12/07 23:23:12 ET