Saturday , Nov , 06 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

T-Mac’s 30 propels Rockets

=== T-Mac’s 30 propels Rockets ===

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady finished with 30 points and nine
assists to lead Houston to an 89-81 win over Memphis in the first game for
both teams in new Southwest Division at FedExForum.

Jim Jackson contributed 14 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who
posted their first win of the season after opening with consecutive losses.
Juwan Howard added 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Pau Gasol scored 21 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Grizzlies, who
opened the season with consecutive losses and are still looking for their
first victory in their new arena. Bonzi Wells added 15 points.

A three-point play by Maurice Taylor midway through the third quarter capped a
10-point surge and opened a 53-43 lead for Houston.

The Grizzlies got within 55-50 on a three pointer by Jason Williams with 5:26
to play in the third. But Houston responded with a 9-2 flurry.

McGrady converted seven straight foul shots, and a layup by Dikembe Mutombo
with 2:44 remaining in the quarter staked the Rockets to a 64-52 edge. They
led 67-60 at the end of the third.

“I just wanted to impose my will on the game because I didn’t want to go home
0-3,” said McGrady, who joined them in a trade with Orlando in the offseason.
“I was a little hesitant in the first two games.”

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Wells and Brian Cardinal each hit
a pair of foul shots to get Memphis within 67-64. But the team go no closer.

A three-pointer by Tyronn Lue with 6:41 to play capped an 11-3 surge and put
Houston ahead 78-67.

The Grizzlies got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.

“We were not ready in the first two games,” Memphis head coach Hubie Brown
said. “All of the blame is on me, not [the players.] I’ve got to get them to
execute.”

Yao Ming’s layup midway through the first quarter capped a 17-0 run to open a
19-5 lead for the Rockets, who made eight of their initial 10 shots from the
field.

During the stretch, Memphis missed nine straight shots from the floor and went
scoreless during a 5:35 stretch.

Two foul shots by Earl Watson with less than a minute to go in the first
capped a 14-4 run and got the Grizzlies within 23-19 at the end of the
quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, a dunk by Gasol off a pass from Williams
put Memphis ahead 33-32.

Lue hit two foul shots and Yao added a jumper in the lane to stake the Rockets
to a 36-33 edge with 4:38 remaining in the second.

Shane Battier hit a three-pointer from the right corner to force a 38-38 tie
for the Grizzlies with 1:29 remaining in the quarter.

A driving layup by Howard with 31.4 seconds left in the second — and a free
throw by Jackson after a technical foul on Brown — put Houston ahead 41-38
at halftime.

Just 90 seconds into the third quarter, A three-pointer by James Posey forced
a 43-43 tie for Memphis.

HOU MEM