[NBA]Yao out for season

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The Houston Rockets just can't catch a break.

Winners of 12 straight and just three games behind the West-leading Lakers, Houston will have to play the rest of its season without All-Star center Yao Ming, who has a stress fracture in his left foot.

Yao will miss both the regular season and the postseason, should the Rockets make it that far. After missing just two games in his first three years in the league, Yao has been injury prone of late, playing in 57 games in the 2005-06 season, and 48 games last year. In 55 games this season, Yao was averaging 22 points and just under 11 rebounds per game.

this is bad news for the rockets. well its good news for the other teams in the west.

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By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP)?The Houston Rockets? 20th straight win was far from pretty, but coach Rick Adelman was still impressed with his team.

The Rockets were held to their lowest first-half total of the season but pulled away late to become the third team in NBA history to win 20 consecutive games, tying for the league?s second-longest winning streak with an 83-75 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

?It may be the ugliest thing we?ve done, but it might have been the best one,? Adelman said, ?the way we fought through it.?

The Rockets joined the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 straight) and 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20) as the only teams to win 20 or more in a row.

?We did enough to win,? Adelman said.

Tracy McGrady scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half for Houston, which led only 71-70 with 5 minutes remaining. McGrady then scored five points in Houston?s 10-0 run to take control.

?We?re really happy with this win because we didn?t play well in the first half,? McGrady said. ?This is a pretty ugly game tonight. We didn?t shoot well and it was one of those games that our defense really had to win for us.?

The Rockets are 20-0 since their last loss on Jan. 27 against Utah, including 7-0 since losing Yao Ming to a foot injury on Feb. 26. The Hawks have 16 losses in that same period.

A basket by Atlanta?s Marvin Williams with 5 seconds left in the game ended the Rockets? streak of 10 straight wins by 10 or more points. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 28 points, and Josh Smith had 16 points and a career-high 22 rebounds.

The Rockets pulled within one game of the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference. Even so, many observers continue to focus on the Lakers and Spurs and other teams in the conference.

That?s OK with Houston.

?It?s unbelievable,? McGrady said. ?For me to be on this team that has accomplished 20 straight wins, that has got to be right up there with the most gratifying things I?ve accomplished in this league. ? You look at the Bulls that were 72-10, they didn?t even do it. So this is pretty remarkable.?

Added Adelman: ?You could see the guys, it really means something to get this and just keep not only the streak going, but keep moving in the right direction.?

Shane Battier had 15 points as Houston struggled to preserve its winning streak despite trailing 33-32 at halftime.

?Houston makes you play that way,? Johnson said. ?They are not a fast-paced team.?

Houston led 59-57 at the end of the third quarter, but Atlanta?s Zaza Pachulia opened the fourth with two free throws. Minutes later, he was called for a technical foul after arguing an offensive foul. Battier made the free throw to give the Rockets a 66-62 lead.

Atlanta closed to 71-70 when Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola scored on back-to-back baskets.

After Smith was denied inside, McGrady stretched the lead to 77-70 with a jumper which bounced twice on the rim before falling through the net. McGrady added a 3-pointer with 1:53 left for an 81-70 lead to cap the 10-0 run.

The Hawks have lost six of seven, but remain in contention to end the league?s longest streak without a playoff appearance. They fell one-half game behind New Jersey for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

?It?s been tough,? Johnson said. ?Everytime we get in a position to move up, we take a step back.?

Houston allowed only 89.3 points per game during its 19 straight wins and set a low scoring pace against the Hawks.

McGrady made only two of 10 shots from the field and three of six free throws in the first half as the Rockets shot only 27.9 percent from the field.

Despite a combined 31 rebounds by Smith and Al Horford, the Rockets held a 56-52 edge on the boards and an 18-15 advantage in second-chance points.

?We weren?t able to stop them from getting second chances,? Smith said. ?They crashed the boards today.?

well 20 in arow for the rockets, i didnt think they would have won 8 games in arow without Yao

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It's sure as hell going to make it hard on them when they go up against the lakers this sunday.

true, they are going to have a hard time. but the good teams find a way to win, good players play better when they need to win. T mac needs to take over the laker game if the rockets want to keep it close.

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BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - China's All-Star center Yao Ming will not be pressured into playing at the Beijing Olympics if he is not fit after injury, China's deputy sports minister said on Wednesday.

The 7ft 6in (2.286m) Houston Rockets center, China's most popular sportsman, had an operation on a fractured foot two weeks ago and faces a race to be fit to lead China's challenge for basketball gold at the Aug. 8-24 Games. "Yao Ming is an excellent basketball player and very popular with the fans," Cui Dalen told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China's parliament. "We look forward to his early recovery and his returning to the team," he added. "But we respect all athletes and we take care of them.

"As to whether he takes part in the Games, we must respect his wishes and the opinions of the doctors. The health of the athlete is most important." The 27-year-old, who will be in rehabilitation for up to four months, wrote an open letter to his Chinese fans earlier this week in which he said he would do his best to be back in time for the Games. (Take a look at the Countdown to Beijing blog at http://blogs.reuters.com/china) (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; editing by Trevor Huggins)


Yao Ming as a secret weapon to speed recovery for Olympics -- Chinese medicine td.yspwidearticlebody { font-size: 13.5px; } March 5, 2008 BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese officials are hoping to speed NBA star Yao Ming's recovery with a secret remedy -- traditional Chinese medicine. The Houston Rockets center underwent surgery on Monday to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Doctors in the United States said after the surgery that he was expected to recover in time to play for China at the Beijing Olympics in August. However, back home they're taking no chances with Yao's health.

After the surgery, Chinese medicine will be used to help Yao Ming's recovery," Hu Jiashi, deputy director of the Chinese Basketball Association, told the Beijing News.

"We've hired medical experts to diagnose Yao Ming's condition and communicate with American doctors and we've reached agreement."

Chinese remedies are widely believed across China to be effective, usually made of herbal compounds that have been used for centuries.

Hu also urged caution. "Yao Ming's absence from the Olympics is something nobody wants to see," Hu said. "However, we have to listen to the doctors advice. We also need to face reality. If Yao doesn't fully recovered from the injury, he can't give his best performance plus it could hurt his career." Yao is China's best-known athlete and has contracts with several Olympic sponsors including McDonald's and Coca-Cola. He is believed to earn about $25 million alone in sponsorship deals and is being heavily marketed across China in the run-up to the Games.

some information.

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