"He's definitely one of the best. He's in the top five in the
world, no matter what league," the Los Angeles Clippers coach said
after Yao recorded his 12th double-double of the season with 21
points and 10 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 99-85
victory Friday night.
"He's 7-6 and he does it all. He rebounds, shoots the jumper
and follows his shots. He was very aggressive tonight," the
Clippers' Elton Brand said.
The Rockets never trailed after the first basket as they snapped
the Clippers' four-game winning streak.
"When we play like that and move the ball around, we can use
our advantages and play as a team," Yao said. "We just moved the
ball to the open man and we got some easy baskets."
Houston shot 49.4 percent from the field, with Yao connecting on
nine of 13.
Quentin Richardson led the Clippers with 20 points, while Corey
Maggette had 16 and Elton Brand added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Houston scored eight straight to take a 17-6 lead. A 3-point
shot by Francis gave them a 22-10 advantage with 3:12 left in the
first quarter before the Clippers cut their deficit to 28-22 going
into the second period.
Maggette scored the first 12 points of the second period for the
Clippers as they pulled to 38-34 with 6:33 remaining in the half.
The Rockets led by as many as 14 twice in the third period
before outscoring the Clippers 14-6 in the final 3:07 of the
quarter to move ahead 82-67. Los Angeles never got closer than 14
in the final period.
Houston is 14-3 when scoring 80 points or more and 1-7 when
scoring less than 80 points. ... Mobley hit two 3-point shots to
move into second place all-time for the Rockets with 558. ... After
shooting over 50 percent from the field in two of their last three
games, the Clippers dropped to 36.4 percent. ... The Clippers'
winning streak was their longest since November 1995.
The Lakers are confident they will at least get a meeting with free-agent prize Kevin Durant and are still hopeful of signing him, a source said.
Marc Spears says the Warriors will try to sell Kevin Durant on Golden State putting together "the greatest offense in the history of the NBA" and describes what their Plan B would be if Durant signs elsewhere.
The 76ers will aggressively pursue Harrison Barnes, a restricted free agent whom the Warriors would be unable to retain if they successfully lure Kevin Durant, sources said.