Yao finishes perfect from field, Alston adds 22 in Rockets' win

HOUSTON -- Yao Ming wasn't counting his shots Saturday night, but he knew how easily they were coming.

Yao set a Houston record by going 12-for-12 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 frontline 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 from the corner 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 and moved the ball well all night, finishing with 24 assists.

"We feel comfortable together," Yao said.

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."

Shane Battier and Wafer took turns guarding Wade and the NBA's leading scorer went 3-for-7 for eight points in the first quarter.

The Heat missed 10 of 11 shots during a long stretch of the second quarter and the Rockets extended the lead. Sensing another double-team coming, Yao found Battier open for a layup that finished an 11-4 run and put Houston up 41-31 with 1:51 left in the half.

Miami went 7-for-25 from the field in the second quarter -- Wade went 0-for-3- and the Rockets led 45-36 at the break.

Wade scored four baskets in the first 4 minutes of the second half to keep the Heat close. Luis Scola sank a free throw and Yao scored inside before Wade sank a 3-pointer to draw the Heat within three, at 50-47.

Alston matched Wade's 14 third-quarter points and Houston led 69-64 heading to the fourth.

Game notes
Wade reached 3,000 career field goals in the first quarter. He's the third Miami player to reach the plateau, joining Alonzo Mourning (3,445) and Glen Rice (3,604). ... Referee Derrick Stafford took an elbow shot from Anthony on the opening tip and briefly left the game with a bloody nose. ... The Rockets said G Luther Head was likely out another week with a sore right foot.