Yao and T-Mac Looks to Put Down The Knicks Tonight in New York
Yao grabbed a season-best 17 rebounds, matched a career high with seven blocked shots and scored 35 points - one off his season high - in the Rockets' 103-94 victory over the Knicks on Nov. 10.
Oddsmakers have made Houston -4.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for tonights game,
the over/under has been set at 196.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books).
New York's Eddy Curry matched up with Yao for most of the night, managing only seven points and five rebounds.
``Oh, man, it was bad out there,'' said Curry, whose team has lost four straight against the Rockets. ``But you've got to give credit to Yao. He played me great. ...
``He's never been that active. Man, playoff form, All-Star form, I don't know. I've never seen Yao like that.''
Yao has averaged 24.7 points and 10.2 rebounds in his last six games against the Knicks, and enters this matchup off to the best start of his career. He's averaging 26.4 points and 10.4 boards - both career highs - and has four double-doubles in his last five games.
The 7-foot-6 center had 33 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday in the Rockets' 104-92 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Guard Tracy McGrady scored 25 points, but no other Houston players reached double digits. The Rockets (6-4) had won five of their previous six games.
``I'm very disappointed,'' McGrady said. ``We talked about it, and we know what the problem is, because it has been the same thing all the time. We give ourselves a chance to win on the road, and then we lose it in the fourth quarter.''
Yao's emergence this season has allowed McGrady to focus less on scoring and more on involving the rest of the team in the offense. McGrady, who has averaged at least 24 points over the past six seasons, is scoring just 19.4 per contest this season, but is averaging a career-best 6.1 assists.
Against the Knicks, he missed eight of 12 field goal attempts, but had eight assists.
``If (Yao) keeps playing the way he's playing and my teammates keep shooting the ball the way they are, I don't have to average 25 points,'' McGrady told the Rockets' official Web site. ``I'm spreading the love around. I'm going to continue to pass the ball around if those guys continue to make shots.''
The Knicks (4-7) lost for the first time in three games on Saturday, falling 122-118 to the Boston Celtics. Jamal Crawford had 37 points and fellow reserve Nate Robinson added 19 for New York, which has scored at least 100 points in each of its last three games.
``We're at home, and it speaks for itself,'' said coach Isiah Thomas, who was ejected for the first time this season in the fourth quarter for arguing a foul call. ``Boston was a lot better at playing small than we were. They were just better than we were tonight, and you have to give them credit.''
Steve Francis, who played for the Rockets from 1999-2004, including two seasons with Yao, did not play against Houston earlier this month because of a sprained left ankle. However, he has scored 32 points in the last two games.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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