Yao, McGrady help Rockets win 6th straight
Yao Ming had 24 points and Tracy McGrady added 16 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to their sixth straight win Monday night, 115-90 over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The victory gave Houston its sixth 50-win season and the first since 1996-97.
The Rockets scored a season-high 40 points in the first quarter on 76 percent shooting (16-of-21), including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. David Wesley, who was 4-of-4 in the quarter with two 3s, finished with 13 points and five assists.
Bob Sura and Scott Padgett each had 15 points for Houston and combined for eight 3-pointers. Mike James added 11 points.
The Clippers, who trailed by as many as 29 points, cut the lead to 70-57 midway through the third quarter, but could get no closer. A minute later the lead was back to 20 after a free throw by Wesley and two 3s by Sura.
Elton Brand scored a season-high 36 points for the Clippers, who were 1-of-6 on 3-pointers and were outrebounded 39-28.
The Rockets (50-31) are fifth in the Western Conference and host Seattle on Wednesday to close the regular season. If the Rockets remain fifth, they will meet Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. A sixth-place finish means a series with Seattle.
The Clippers fell to 9-31 on the road.
Clippers C Chris Kaman missed a second straight game because of a sore lower back. ... Clippers F Zeljko Rebraca (sprained left ankle) also sat out. ... McGrady joined Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only Rockets to score 2,000 points in a season. He's the only non-center in the group. ... The Rockets' 70 points in the first half was their highest first half total since 2000.