Yao perfect from field as Rockets beat Heat
Yao Ming was so good, Dwyane Wade didn't
believe it. The Chinese superstar set a franchise record by making all 12 of
his shots en route to 26 points Saturday night as the host Houston Rockets
handled the Miami Heat, 93-86, dpa reported.
"He was perfect from the field? That's unbelievable!" Wade said. "He is so big and we just didn't have anybody to guard him."
The 7-6 Yao overwhelmed Miami centers Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire as he broke the club record for most shots without a miss set by Joe C. Meriweather, who was 10-of-10 at Atlanta on April 11, 1976. Yao was 10-of-11 at Miami last February and 9-of-9 at the Los Angeles Lakers on November 17, 2002.
"I didn't know that (Yao was 12-of-12)," Magloire said, "That's incredible!"
Yao wasn't entirely perfect - he missed one free throw in three attempts. But he grabbed 10 rebounds as the Rockets - again playing without injured Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest - won for the fourth time in five games.
"I think besides Jamaal Magloire, they don't have any guys taller than 6-9," Yao said. "I was able to get the ball in the post and I had energy. I was close to the basket. This doesn't happen every night but that's the way I was played."
"He's been playing humongous," Rockets guard Von Wafer said. "You've got to put his name in the ring for MVP. We're down without two of our best weapons and we're still playing good basketball."
Yao scored 10 points in the first eight minutes, giving the Rockets early control. Houston held a 45-36 lead at halftime.
Wade came alive in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his 29 points. But he was matched by Rafer Alston, who scored 14 of his season-high 22 points in the period to give the Rockets a 69-64 lead entering the final 12 minutes.
With Yao on the bench, the Rockets used a pair of jumpers by Carl Landry to widen the lead to 82-70 with 6:41 to play. The Heat got no closer than the final margin, and Yao made two more buckets down the stretch.
"We tried everything we could, but we couldn't stop Yao," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Wafer scored 17 points for the Rockets, who shot 56.5 percent (39-of-69) from the field and held a 43-34 advantage on the glass.
Shawn Marion scored 20 points and rookie Michael Beasley added 12 for the Heat, who shot just 40 percent (36-of-90). Miami is 3-3 on a seven-game road trip that ends Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Dallas 115, Utah 108=
German juggernaut Dirk Nowitzki ignored a pair of injuries to score 39 points on 16-of-20 shooting as the Mavericks snapped a four-game skid. Deron Willams had 30 points and nine assists for the Jazz.
Orlando 106, Denver 88
Turkey's Hedo Turkoglu scored 26 points to help complete a 4-0 West Coast road trip for the Magic (33-8), who moved into a virtual tie with Cleveland (32-7) for the NBA's best record. Lithuania's Linas Kleiza scored a season-high 26 points for the Nuggets, who had won seven of eight.
Philadelphia 107, New York 97=
Andre Iguodala had 28 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the surging 76ers won their seventh straight game. The host Knicks saw Italian rookie Danilo Gallinari return to action for the first time since the opening week.
Boston 105, New Jersey 85=
Ray Allen scored 25 points for the visiting Celtics, who raced to a 29-point halftime lead en route to their fourth consecutive game. Nets stars Vince Carter and Devin Harris were benched for the entire second half.
San Antonio 92, Chicago 87=
Argentine Manu Ginobili scored 21 points and "French Flash" Tony Parker added 20 for the visiting Spurs, who have won 11 of 14.
New Orleans 91, Detroit 85=
Chris Paul collected 23 points and 14 assists as the visiting Hornets handed the Pistons their fifth straight setback.
LA Clippers 101, Milwaukee 92=
Brian Skinner scored a season-high 18 points as the host Clippers ended a 12-game losing streak.
Charlotte 102, Portland 97 (OT)=
Gerald Wallace had 31 points and 16 rebounds to help the host Bobcats with their season-high third straight game. Spaniards Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez combined for 25 points as the Trail Blazers completed a 2-2 road trip.