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Rockets still sizzle without Yao

Contrary to what many NBA observers might have expected, the Houston Rockets have not folded without star center Yao Ming after his season was ended by a foot injury.

Prior to Yao's injury, the Rockets had won 12 in a row to propel themselves into the NBA Western Conference playoff hunt.  Since Yao went out, Houston has lengthened that streak to 15 and last night, they did it against a quality opponent, Denver. Houston won by 14.  It helped that the Nuggets' stars, Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, combined for 36 points and 36 percent shooting from the field.  But Houston helped itself with nearly 49 percent shooting and Shane Battier (right) was 5-for-10 from three-point range.

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The venerable one, Dikembe Mutombo, playing for Yao had just two points but he contributed five rebounds and three blocks. As the weekend approaches, Houston has two games that will help show whether they can continue to hang tough in the rugged West, Dallas and New Orleans.

Photo credit: Bill Baptist/Getty Images

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