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Houston at Miami

Yao comes out victorious in battle with Shaq

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal was dominated, but he wasn't impressed.

Yao Ming won his matchup with O'Neal, finishing with 34 points and 14 rebounds Sunday night to lead the Houston Rockets to their fourth straight victory, 94-72 over the Miami Heat.

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

Yao scored 20 points in the second half, when Houston outscored Miami by 25 points.

"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.

"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. He's just great."

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."

O'Neal's field goal early in the third quarter moved him past Patrick Ewing for 14th on the NBA's career scoring list with 24,817 points. But he finished with only 15 points and now has 24,820 in his career.

Yao frustrated the Heat with short jumpers and layups. He shot 11-of-19 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line. His second-half dominance revived the Rockets after their first-half struggles.

Tracy McGrady was only 6-of-18 from the field but finished with eight assists.

"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.

Shane Battier and Luther Head each finished with 11 points for Houston.

"We did a good job defensively, we did a good job keeping them out of the lane and keeping them off the free throw line," Battier said.

After trailing nearly the entire first half, the Rockets outscored the Heat 21-14 in the third quarter and never trailed after Rafer Alston's 3-pointer for a 58-56 lead with 1:27 remaining in the period.

The Rockets ran off 11 straight points during the final 2:48 of the third quarter and first 1:39 of the fourth period for a 64-58 lead. Head hit consecutive 3-pointers and Yao's driving layup increased the Rockets' advantage to 76-66 with 5:21 remaining.

Kirk Snyder's two free throws with 1:27 remaining in the game finished another 11-point run and gave the Rockets a 91-70 lead.

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

The Rockets lost forward Chuck Hayes to a left knee injury when he collided with O'Neal with 5:05 remaining in the third period. Hayes was taken to the dressing room and didn't return.

After a brief 6-4 lead early in the game, the Rockets trailed most of the first half. But Yao scored six points and Battier added four in a 10-2 run as Houston went ahead 36-35 with 4 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Gary Payton and Alston were each assessed technical fouls for their brief shoving match in front of the Miami bench with 29 seconds remaining in the first half.

Notes

  • The Heat activated backup center Michael Doleac for Sunday's game. Doleac sat out the first five games with a sprained right ankle. To make room for Doleac, the Heat deactivated reserve center Earl Barron.
  • Approximately 500 Rockets fans cheered their team from the end zone seats in the upper deck.
  • The Rockets outrebounded the Heat 42-39, ending Houston's four-game streak of outrebounding opponents by double figures.
  • Houston leads the all-time series 21-19.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Is Yao No. 1? Probably not, but he makes a good case to be mentioned among the league's best. (AP)
Is Yao No. 1? Probably not, but he makes a good case to be mentioned among the league's best. (AP)

Scoreboard
Houston (5-2) «2217213494
Miami (3-3) 2517141672
HOU:Y. Ming 34 Pts
HOU:Y. Ming 14 Reb
HOU:T. McGrady 8 Ast
MIA:D. Wade 24 Pts
MIA:S. O'Neal 10 Reb
MIA:A. Walker 4 Ast
Players of the Game
MiamiHouston

S. O'Neal

Y. Ming
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
1510134142
Houston
Y. Ming, C3811-1912-13142434
T. McGrady, SG366-180-048212
R. Alston, PG332-62-22238
S. Battier, SF335-100-033211
C. Hayes, PF193-41-26017
J. Howard, PF292-50-04234
L. Head, SG214-90-141211
K. Snyder, SF202-52-42227
D. Mutombo, C80-00-03030
V. Spanoulis, PG10-00-00000
S. Padgett, PF10-00-00000
B. Sura, PGDid Not Play
B. Wells, SGDid Not Play
J. Lucas, PGDid Not Play
S. Novak, PFDid Not Play
Totals 35-7617-2242202294
 46.1%77.3% 
Miami
D. Wade, PG438-228-874224
A. Walker, PF396-100-044313
G. Payton, PG362-50-04215
U. Haslem, PF343-90-010036
S. O'Neal, C336-143-9101415
J. Posey, SF261-50-22133
A. Mourning, C111-11-22023
J. Kapono, SF91-40-00003
D. Wright, SF80-10-00110
C. Quinn, PG10-00-00000
M. Doleac, CDid Not Play
J. Williams, PGDid Not Play
E. Barron, CDid Not Play
W. Simien, PFDid Not Play
R. Hite, SGDid Not Play
Totals 28-7112-2139131972
 39.4%57.1% 
Other Games
NO 76 Final
LAC 92
Den 108 Final
Char 101
NJ 105 Final
Wash 93
Dal 103 Final
Port 96
Tor 92 Final
Sac 107
Mem 81 Final
LAL 91