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Yao records as Rockets beat the Heat

YAO Ming set a Houston record by sinking 12 of 12 shots from the field, and finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the Rockets' 93-86 victory over the Miami Heat.

Yao's perfect shooting night eclipsed Joe Meriweather's 10-for-10 game against Atlanta in 1976. Yao's only miss came at the free-throw line, where he was 2-for-3.

Yao toyed with Miami's undersized defenders. Joel Anthony, at 6-foot-9, was the Heat's tallest starter and no match for the 7-foot-6 Yao.

"I was able to get the ball in the post and I had energy," said Yao, who went 10-for-11 from the field in a game against Miami last season. "I was close to the basket. This doesn't happen every night, but that's the way I was played."

Yao spun inside for a layup with 2:47 left, then hit a mid-range jumper in the final minute to end his night. He joked that he might have passed on those attempts if he was more aware of the record.

"If I'd have known that," Yao said, "I probably wouldn't taken those shots in the fourth quarter."

Rafer Alston added a season-high 22 points to help the Rockets improve to 2-1 since Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest were shelved to recover from injuries. Alston didn't realize Yao didn't miss and criticized himself for not getting him even more looks.

"That's a bad job by myself. I took too many shots," said Alston, who went 9-for-17 from the field. "But that's tremendous. I wish I could have a day like that."

Dwyane Wade shook off a bad first half to score 29 points for Miami.

With Yao resting for the start of the fourth quarter, Brent Barry sank a 3-pointer and Carl Landry hit a jumper to put Houston up 82-70 with just under 7 minutes left. The Heat missed six of their first eight shots in the final quarter and shot 36-of-90 (40 percent) for the game.

"We had good looks, but they weren't going in," said Shawn Marion, who scored 20. "It was an uphill battle all game."

Yao returned with 5:09 remaining, but Landry was the one who kept the Heat at bay with two unlikely shots. He caught Von Wafer's airball and dunked just before the shot clock expired, then swished 20-footer from the wing, outside his usual shooting range. Landry scored nine points.

The Rockets had two full days of practice before Saturday's game.

Wafer added 17 points for Houston, continuing to pick up the slack left by the absence of McGrady, the Rockets' third-leading scorer.

The Heat double-teamed Yao every time he touched the ball. He still scored 10 points in the first 8 minutes to help the Rockets build a 23-17 lead.

"He is so big and we just didn't have anybody to guard him," Wade said. "If they needed a bailout, then they go to Yao and we couldn't stop him."


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