HOUSTON -- Tracy McGrady says he'll play the rest of the season with pain in his left knee. All he can do during games is try to put the injury out of his mind.
Playing in a reserve role for the second straight game, McGrady had 17 points and five assists as the Houston Rockets beat the SuperSonics 96-89 on Monday, handing Seattle its team-record 11th consecutive loss.
McGrady missed 11 games with a bone bruise and tendon damage in the knee. He returned on Saturday and scored nine points in 27 minutes against San Antonio before playing 30 painful minutes on Monday.
"Today was really bad," McGrady said. "It was good to see that I played more minutes and stayed out there for a good portion of the fourth quarter. For the most part, I felt like I pushed my way through it."
The Rockets are 22-19 at the midpoint of their season, only the 10th best record in the Western Conference. McGrady said he'd rather help his team try to salvage this season than sit out more games and let the knee fully recover.
"It's going to be that way, because I can't rest to let it heal all the way up," he said. "It's something I'm going to have to tolerate."
Yao Ming had 30 points and 17 rebounds and Bonzi Wells added 16 for the Rockets, who've won seven of their last nine games. Yao hit 12 of 19 shots in reaching 30 points for the seventh time this season.
Wally Szczerbiak and Jeff Green had 15 points apiece for Seattle, now riding the longest single-season losing streak in team history. The Sonics lost 12 consecutive games across the end of the 1968-69 season and the start of 1969-70.
Former Texas star Kevin Durant shot poorly for the third straight game, scoring 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting. Durant was 10-of-39 in his previous two games. Durant says he needs to attack the basket more and stop settling for long jumpers.
"Every level has been difficult for me to adjust to at the beginning," said Durant, still the NBA's leading rookie scorer. "I don't think there is any pressure. I just try to have fun, keep learning and try and progress."
The Sonics, who've lost 10 straight road games, shot 51 percent in the first half and trailed only 53-52. But they missed 14 of their first 20 shots in the third quarter and the Rockets stretched the lead to 12.
Szczerbiak sank a 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining to finish a 10-4 spurt and cut Houston's lead to 89-85. But Yao sank two free throws at the other end, then blocked a putback try by Green.
"The good thing is that we won today," Yao said, "but we know that we have to do better."
The Sonics missed six of their last eight shots and lost to Houston for the 10th time in 12 meetings.
McGrady came off the bench with 5:08 left in the first quarter, with Seattle ahead 13-11.
The Sonics led 24-22 after the first quarter and maintained their lead early in the second by repeatedly beating the Rockets down the floor for easy baskets. Durant, guarded by McGrady much of the second quarter, put back an offensive rebound and Green charged down the lane for a one-handed dunk to put the Sonics up 37-33.
"We let them get a lot of transition points, where sometimes they would score right after we made a basket," Yao said. "I couldn't believe that.
Rookie Carl Landry scored 11 points in the second quarter to help Houston retake the lead by halftime.
McGrady, noticeably limping throughout the game, hit a jumper from the wing with a minute left in the third quarter to give Houston its first double-digit lead, 75-65.
McGrady found Yao for a layup with 38 seconds left in the third to make it 77-65.
- The Rockets went 1-for-12 from 3-point range.
- Kurt Thomas grabbed 11 rebounds for Seattle.
- The game was tied 16 times and the lead switched hands 15 times.
- The Sonics and Rockets play again on Wednesday in Seattle.