Yao runs around Shaq, Rockets beat Heat

November 13th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Yao runs around Shaq, Rockets beat Heat

Associated Press

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.