Tracy McGrady scored 33 points and had eight assists to lead the Rockets to a 98-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
The key was a strong defensive effort and other players picking up for Yao, who has missed 21 games since suffering a fractured right leg against the Clippers on Dec. 23rd. The Rockets are 15-6.
"We're in a nice little groove offensively right now," McGrady said. "My teammates have been great in providing offense as well and opening things up, allowing me to play one-on-one and have single coverage. When we are playing that way, that's when we are at our best."
McGrady led five Rockets in double figures as Houston won for the sixth time in the last seven games.
Memphis, which has the worst record in the NBA, has lost three straight.
"It's frustrating to lose period," Memphis guard Chucky Atkins said, "especially when you know you have opportunities to win." Advertisement
Juwan Howard scored 17 for the Rockets and Shane Battier added 14. Rafer Alston had 12 points and Luther Head contributed 11.
Pau Gasol led Memphis with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Mike Miller added 12 points, but was only 5-for-17 from the field. Lawrence Roberts finished with 10 points. Gasol also had five blocks and five assists.