Yao Ming got all the motivation he needed from reading the starting lineups.
Matched against David Robinson and Tim Duncan, Yao scored 27 points, grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds and added a crowd-pleasing slam in the closing minutes to lead the Rockets to an 89-75 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night at Houston.
"It might have been because I knew I was going up against two great centers," Yao said, explaining his performance. "When I first got to the NBA I had a lot to think about. To get this victory, it's like being able to take a deep breath."
After leading much of the game, the Rockets trailed, 64-61, going into the fourth quarter. But they quickly regained the lead and won going away as the Spurs went scoreless over the final 2:43.
Yao rebounded a miss by Steve Francis with 3:04 to go and slammed it home. Francis had 18 points and six assists, and Moochie Norris had 16 points.
Sacramento 98, Minnesota 86 -- Bobby Jackson scored 24 points and Chris Webber had 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Kings overcame Kevin Garnett's second big game against them in seven days to win at Sacramento.
Garnett had 18 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists -- barely missing the ninth triple-double of his career.
New Jersey 87, Atlanta 72 -- Richard Jefferson bounced back from a big blunder with 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the banged-up Nets at East Rutherford, N.J.
The victory was only the second in five games for the Nets, with one of the losses largely to blame on Jefferson.
He missed two free throws with New Jersey ahead by two points with 9.8 seconds left in a loss to Seattle on Sunday.
Washington 103, Milwaukee 78 -- Michael Jordan scored 25 points in his second game as a starter, and the man he replaced in the lineup, Bryon Russell, matched his season-high with 16 points as the Wizards won at Washington.
Jordan and Russell scored 27 consecutive Wizard points in the first half, including all the points in a 16-5 run that put Washington ahead, 42-29.
Golden State 110, Denver 89 -- Antawn Jamison scored 34 points as the Warriors extended their longest winning streak in over a year to three games with a victory at Oakland.
New Orleans 115, Chicago 90 -- David Wesley scored a season-high 25 points and Jamal Mashburn had 21 as the Hornets won at Chicago.