Rockets, now 6-2 since Yao's return, dominate Sixers in paint

PHILADELPHIA -- Tracy McGrady said he had never been a part of a game like this one. Not many NBA players have.

Yao Ming scored 24 points, McGrady added 21 and the Houston Rockets embarrassed the Philadelphia 76ers 124-74 Sunday night in one of the most lopsided games in the history of both franchises.

It was the Rockets' largest road win and the franchise's second-largest margin of victory, falling just short of a 139-87 win over the New Jersey Nets on Oct. 18, 1978.

Meanwhile, it was the biggest home loss in franchise history for Philadelphia, and the team's largest margin of defeat since a 149-93 loss at Seattle on March 6, 1993.

Luther Head scored 13 points off the bench for Houston, while Chuck Hayes finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Yao grabbed 10 boards as the Rockets set a season high in points.

"I've never been a part of beating a team by 50 points," said McGrady, who also had eight assists. "Regardless of the score, we kept playing. There's only a few games left to prepare ourselves for the playoffs."

Philadelphia had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA in recent weeks, winning eight of 10 games to move to the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoff race. But this game was never close after the opening minutes and the Rockets beat the 76ers just about every way possible.

Houston had a 54-36 edge on the glass and a 54-8 advantage on points in the paint. The Rockets enjoyed a 29-10 margin in assists, and hit 11 3-pointers to four by the Sixers, who shot a season low 34 percent (27-for-80).

"There's not even a whole lot I can say about it," Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "From the start of the game to the end of the game, they just beat us. From beginning to end, from coaches to players."

Houston is 6-2 since Yao returned March 5 after missing 32 games with a fractured right leg. He dominated both ends of the floor against the Sixers, keeping them from getting anything going inside.

"They had our attention because of how well they've been playing lately against quality teams," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We're certainly not 50 points better than anybody."

The game was never in doubt after the Rockets went on a 19-2 run in the opening minutes to take a 21-6 lead. The 76ers never got any closer than 11 the rest of the way against the Rockets, who hit their first four 3-pointers and led 32-15 after the first quarter.

Houston's final margin came on a layup by Vassilis Spanoulis with 30.9 seconds left.

Game notes
Andre Iguodala, who had led the Sixers in scoring for 11 consecutive games, shot just 2-for-10 and finished with six points. He sat out the entire fourth quarter and saw streak of 27 consecutive double-figure games end. ... The Rockets have won nine of their last 10 meetings against Philadelphia. When the teams met on Jan. 29, Houston led by as many as 41 points before posting a 105-84 victory. ... Houston's largest margin of victory over the 76ers had been 38, which came in a 149-114 win on Feb. 16, 1993. ... Philadelphia's largest home loss had been 139-91 to the New York Knicks on Nov. 29, 1972. That 76ers team set an NBA standard for futility with a 9-73 record.

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