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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, November 12th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (4-2) at Miami Heat (3-2), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two of the NBA's premier big men will oppose one another this evening in Miami, where Shaquille O'Neal and the defending world champion Heat entertain Yao Ming's Houston Rockets at American Airlines Arena.

O'Neal is a former league Most Valuable Player, but it's Yao who is putting up MVP-type numbers in the early going. The Chinese star is averaging 26.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over Houston's first six games and is coming off a monster performance in the team's 103-94 victory over the Knicks on Friday.

Yao racked up 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting, grabbed 17 rebounds and tied a career-high with seven blocked shots. Tracy McGrady added 13 points and eight assists, while Rafer Alston had 13 points, six assists and five rebounds to help the Rockets to their third straight win.

O'Neal is off to a much slower start, as the 34-year-old is averaging 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, numbers well below his career norms. He has played in only three of Miami's first five games because of a bruised left knee, but returned to action on Friday and made a contribution to the Heat's 113-106 win at New Jersey.

Shaq chipped in 13 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes of playing time for Miami, which received huge performances out of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. Dwyane Wade had a season-high 34 points and also dished out 10 assists, while Haslem scored a career-best 28 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

Antoine Walker added 15 points and 10 boards for the Heat, who have won two in a row and three of their last four games.

Miami will be playing the first of three straight home games tonight. The Heat will also host Denver and the Knicks on the stand.

Houston was swept by Miami in last year's home-and-home series and has lost in its last three visits to American Airlines Arena.

11/12 10:27:13 ET


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