“I stayed so close to the basket, I got a lot of good chances,” Yao said. “Tracy made the defense come to him a lot and I stayed on the weak side. All I had to do was duck and catch the ball and I had a layup.”
Only one of Yao’s 13 baskets—an 11-foot turnaround jumper late in the fourth quarter—came from more than 9 feet out. He hit five layups and four dunks, one 5-foot shot and two 9-footers. He also made 14 of 18 free throws.
“It seemed like he was just imbedded in the paint,” Eric Williams said. “It seemed like he spent 20 seconds in there sometimes.”
Coach Sam Mitchell agreed.
“He was catching the ball down low and you can’t stop him when he does that,” Mitchell said. “He’s a load when he’s going like that.”
That’s what the Rockets were looking for Monday.
“When he moves his feet and fights for position, all you have to do is get the ball to him and he’s going to score,” Maurice Taylor said. “There are going to be many more nights like this. They are the focal point of our team.”
McGrady managed only 9-of-30 shooting in a loss to Charlotte Saturday night. He hit 12-of-21 Monday.
“I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth from Charlotte,” McGrady said. “I just wanted to come out aggressive. Then I let the big man take over. He made the game easy for everybody.”
The Rockets have won nine of 10 home games against the Raptors, whose only win in Houston was nearly five years ago.
The point total was a season high for the Rockets, who also had their second-best percentage (51.9) from the field on 41-of-79 shooting
Chris Bosh had 16 points to lead seven Raptors in double figures. Toronto has lost nine of its last 11 games.
Yao added 10 rebounds for his team-high eighth double-double of the season.
Houston took a 12-3 lead as Toronto missed seven of its first eight shots. Yao had six of his 10 first-quarter points in that span.
But Bosh and Morris Peterson each had six, including a 3-pointer by Peterson with 24 seconds left, to help the Raptors tie it at 24 at the end of the first quarter.
McGrady scored 12, including two 3-pointers, in the first 2:48 of the second quarter to lift Houston to a 36-29 lead.
But Milt Palacio’s six points led a 13-4 run that gave Toronto its first lead at 42-40 with 3:57 left in the first half.
McGrady had 18 points and Yao 17 as Houston led 51-46 at the half.
The Nuggets led by as many as 10 in the third quarter as McGrady added 11 more points and Yao eight.
Jim Jackson went 0-for-6 from 3-point range, ending his string of at least one 3-pointer at 23 games—matching a club record. But replays showed a 2-pointer in the fourth quarter was actually a 3-point shot and Rockets officials are considering sending a tape appealing the call to the NBA. … The Rockets reached 100 points for the third straight game. … It was the first time this season McGrady and Yao have hit 30 or more apiece in the same game and the seventh time they have each had 20 or more. … Aaron Williams and Eric Williams each made their Raptor debuts Monday.