A major difference for the Rockets has been the emergence of 7-foot-6 center Yao Ming as a game-in, game-out presence. In his sixth season, Ming is having the best year of his NBA career. With 55 games under his belt, he's on a pace to play in far more games than the previous two seasons, when injuries limited him to 57 games in 2005-06 and 48 last season. And his average so far of 22 points and nearly 11 rebounds will easily surpass his best season totals. If Ming can avoid the injuries that have dogged him and Tracy McGrady continues his steady play, Houston could be a Cinderella team in the spring.