Yao Runs Around Shaq, Rockets Beat Heat

Monday, November 13th 2006, 6:27 am
By: News On 6

Yao Ming used a Halloween analogy to describe his dominance of Shaquille O'Neal. Seems fitting _ Shaq looked old and slow that night, too.

Yao had 34 points and 14 rebounds Sunday night to easily win the matchup of celebrated centers, and the Houston Rockets beat the Miami Heat 94-72 for their fourth straight victory.

``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,'' Yao said. ``He's just great.''

But Yao may now be better _ Tracy McGrady already said his teammate ``hands down, is the best center in the league'' after Yao had 35 points and 17 rebounds in a victory over New York on Friday.

O'Neal managed 15 points and 10 rebounds while shooting only 6-of-14 in the Heat's first loss with him in the lineup since their 106-66 embarrassment against Chicago on Oct. 31. O'Neal had seven points and five rebounds that night.

He refused to concede much to Yao on Sunday _ other than that the Houston center is tall.

``He's pretty much the same, just big, 7-6,'' O'Neal said. ``He's just doing what he's supposed to do.''

In other games, it was: New Jersey 105, Washington 93 in overtime; the Los Angeles Clippers 92, New Orleans 76; Denver 108, Charlotte 101; Sacramento 107, Toronto 92; Dallas 103, Portland 96; and the Los Angeles Lakers 91, Memphis 81.

At Miami, Yao shot 11-of-19 and scored 20 points in the second half. Houston trailed by three at halftime before outscoring the Heat by 25 points in the final 24 minutes.

``It was two different halves for us,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. ``We got our heads handed to us in the second half.''

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.''

Yao, drafted No. 1 overall in 2002 10 years after O'Neal was, used his quickness advantage against the Heat center, who missed two games with a bruised knee before returning Friday against New Jersey. Yao hit jumpers and layups, and had a basket in transition late in the game.

``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.''

McGrady added 12 points and eight assists, focusing on his playmaking on a night he shot only 6-of-18. Shane Battier and Luther Head each scored 11 points.

``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.

Nets 105, Wizards 93, OT

At Washington, Vince Carter's 34 points included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime, and Jason Kidd's 77th career triple-double included 18 assists.

Kidd had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and now stands one triple-double behind Wilt Chamberlain for third-most in NBA history.

The Nets held Gilbert Arenas to 6-for-23 shooting and 25 points _ 12.7 below his average this season at home, where the Wizards had been averaging 119 points.

Clippers 92, Hornets 76

Elton Brand had 22 points and 10 rebounds and five other players scored in double figures for the Clippers, who have won five straight _ all at home.

The Hornets have lost three straight after starting out 4-0 for the first time in the franchise's 19-year history.

Point guard Chris Paul made his first five shots and finished with 20 points for New Orleans.

Mavericks 103, Trail Blazers 96

At Portland, Ore., Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Dallas beat short-handed Portland for the 11th straight time.

Zach Randolph had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge, the second pick in the 2006 draft, made his debut for the Blazers after a shoulder injury kept him out of the preseason and the season's start. He finished with 10 points, all in the fourth quarter.

Lakers 91, Grizzlies 81

Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, Lamar Odom had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and host Los Angeles beat hapless Memphis in Phil Jackson's 500th game as Lakers' coach.

Andrew Bynum added 11 points, Smush Parker had 10 and Odom had seven assists as the Lakers ended a two-game losing streak.

Mike Miller scored 21 points _ tying his career high with six 3-pointers _ and had 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost their fourth in a row overall and third straight on the road.

Kings 107, Raptors 92

Kevin Martin had 26 points, six rebounds and made all eight of his free throws, and Sacramento extended its home winning streak against Toronto to nine games.

Ron Artest scored 15 of his 23 points in the first period of the Kings' third straight win. Mike Bibby added 21 points, five rebounds and four assists to keep the Kings unbeaten at home this season.

Chris Bosh scored 19 points and Morris Peterson 18 for the Raptors, who opened a tough five-game, 11-day road trip.

Nuggets 108, Bobcats 101

At Charlotte, N.C., Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points and Denver forced Charlotte into a franchise-worst 29 turnovers.

J.R. Smith and Andre Miller each added 17 points for the Nuggets, who scored 26 points off Charlotte's miscues to pick up their second straight win after an 0-3 start.

Brevin Knight scored 21 points but had seven turnovers, and Emeka Okafor had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the sloppy Bobcats, who have lost three in a row. Rookie Adam Morrison struggled again, scoring just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.