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Rockets rout Hornets with Yao's 22 points
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Yao Ming scored 22 points and the Houston Rockets beat the New Orleans Hornets 86-66 on Monday night, one game left to win the Southwest Division title for the NBA regular season.

The Rockets came in holding the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, with the same record as San Antonio and Portland, that both played later in the night.

If the Rockets win their regular-season finale in Dallas on Wednesday, they'll secure their first division championship since 1993-94.

But in the fierce Western Conference, Houston could also slip to fifth place and lose home-court advantage in the first round of playoffs if they lose to the Mavericks.

David West scored 14 and Chris Paul had nine points and seven assists for the Hornets, who could've clinched the No. 6 seed in the West with a victory. New Orleans came in one game ahead of Dallas and two ahead of Utah.

While the standings remain unresolved, the result of Monday's game was decided early. The Hornets shot 35 percent (28-of-81) from the field and their 66 points were a season low. Houston also held a 46-37 rebounding edge, and Luis Scola grabbed 15 rebounds for the Rockets.

The Rockets coasted to their sixth straight home win and 33rd of the season.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2009)

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