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Yao powers Rockets past Nuggets
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Chinese center Yao Ming scored 32 points and Tracy McGrady added 20 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to power the Houston Rockets past the Denver Nuggets 108-96 on Tuesday.

The Rockets snapped Denver's four-game National Basketball Association win streak, improving to 16-9 but staying third in the Southwest division while the Nuggets, who fell to 17-8, still lead the Northwest division.

McGrady's triple-double effort came in only his third game back after sitting out with a sore left knee. It was the fourth triple double of McGrady's career and his first since achieving the feat last December against Memphis.

Aaron Brooks, starting at point guard for the Rockets while Rafer Alston is out with an injury, added 18 points and six assists while Ron Artest, who has been nagged by a sore ankle, added 20 points for Houston.

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 22 points.

Yao scored six points early to help the Rockets seize a 13-2 lead, but Chauncey Billups sparked a 7-0 Denver run early in the second quarter to give Denver a 35-33 lead and the way to a 61-56 half-time edge.

Houston scored eight in a row, including a pair of 3-pointers by Shane Battier, midway through the third quarter to regain the lead at 68-67. Yao scored 13 points in the quarter and the Rockets surged on top 85-79 after three quarters.

Hornets 91, Grizzlies 84

At Memphis, Tennessee, Chris Paul had 18 points, nine assists and five steals and James Posey scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans snapped Memphis' season-high, four-game winning streak.

David West also scored 18 points for the Hornets, who won for the fifth time in six games despite struggling from the field at times. Paul was just 3-of-10 from the field but made 11 of 12 free throws.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 28 points and O. J. Mayo added 20.

Lakers 116, Knicks 114

At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored nine of his 28 points in the last 7 1/2 minutes as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat New York.

Trevor Ariza scored the go-ahead basket with 1:03 remaining to give the Lakers (21-3) their 14th win in 16 games. Lamar Odom made his first start of the season in place of the ill Pau Gasol and had season-high totals of 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Nate Robinson scored a season-high 33 points for the Knicks but missed a short jumper with about 12 seconds to play. David Lee had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Quentin Richardson also scored 18 points.

Clippers 98, Thunder 88

At Oklahoma City, Zach Randolph had 22 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double, and rookie Eric Gordon fueled a 10-point run in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles won its third straight.

Gordon finished with 22 points, Baron Davis scored 19, and Marcus Camby added 13 points and 15 rebounds as all of the Clippers starters' reached double figures. Los Angeles has won three straight for the first time since starting last season 4-0.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 23 points, and Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox scored 13 apiece. The Thunder are now 1-12 under interim coach Scott Brooks, the same record they had when P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Bobcats 110, Bulls 101, OT

At Charlotte, North Carolina, D.J. Augustin scored a career-high 29 points while outplaying fellow rookie point guard Derrick Rose, and undermanned Charlotte snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Chicago.

Rose, the No 1 pick, was held to six points on 3-of-16 shooting, with seven assists. Ben Gordon scored 25 points and Tyrus Thomas added 22 for the Bulls, who dropped to 3-10 on the road and failed to reach .500 for the first time in a month.

Trail Blazers 109, Kings 77

At Portland, Oregon, Brandon Roy scored 29 points before sitting out the fourth quarter and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 10 rebounds as Portland beat Sacramento to snap a three-game losing streak.

Playing with a splint on his injured right pinkie finger, Roy fell just short of scoring 30 points for the fourth straight game. The all-star guard tore a tendon in his finger while scoring a career-high 38 against the Clippers last Friday.

(Agencies via China Daily December 18, 2008)


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