Thursday , Dec , 23 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Houston Rockets Team Report – December 23

=== Houston Rockets Team Report – December 23 ===

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets were handed a shocking home loss by
the expansion Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center.

Emeka Okafor scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Bobcats
to the 90-87 victory.

Tracy McGrady collected 25 points, nine boards, six assists and five steals
for the Rockets, who also lost to the expansion Bobcats on Saturday.

Yao Ming finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds for Houston. However, he
turned the ball over 10 times. Bob Sura had 17 points and Jim Jackson added 15
in the loss.

Charlotte was clinging to a three-point advantage early in the fourth quarter
before going on an 8-0 spurt, ignited by Brevin Knight’s three-point play, to
increase the margin to 11 at 76-65 with just over eight minutes left.

The Rockets still trailed by 11 several minutes later, but made a late run.
McGrady’s runner in the lane with 56 seconds remaining cut the deficit to
85-82.

However, Primoz Brezec nailed a jumper on the next possession to push the lead
back to five.

Jackson then drilled a three-pointer with 18.1 seconds left to make it 87-85.
The shot came after Brezec made an errant pass after grabbing the rebound of a
missed shot by Sura.

Jason Hart was then fouled and sank 1-of-2 free throws to give Charlotte a
three-point advantage with 14.6 seconds left.

On Houston’s next possession, McGrady drove inside, but made a bad pass to Yao
underneath for a turnover with 8.5 seconds remaining. The Bobcats then fired a
long inbounds pass to Brezec, who slammed the ball home to seal it.

The Rockets will complete their three-game homestand on Sunday night against
the Los Angeles Clippers.

HOU