Monday , Dec , 19 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

T-Mac comes through in clutch as Rockets edge Lakers

=== T-Mac comes through in clutch as Rockets edge Lakers ===

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady’s layup with 0.3 seconds left
boosted the shorthanded Houston Rockets to a 76-74 victory over the Los
Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

McGrady scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Houston, which
played without injured center Yao Ming, out with a sore right big toe. Yao
traveled back to Houston to be examined.

David Wesley added 18 points and Luther Head scored 16 for the Rockets, who
have won six of their last seven games. The Rockets also played without
injured guards Jon Barry, Rafer Alston, Bob Sura and Derek Anderson, who
missed the game with a right calf problem.

Kobe Bryant had 24 points and six assists to pace the Lakers, who a three-game
winning streak broken.

Lamar Odom, who came into the game averaging 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.5
assists, had an ineffective night for the Lakers and failed to stop McGrady on
the final drive. Odom ended with three points, seven rebounds and five
turnovers on just 1-of-5 shooting.

Kwame Brown stole the ball from McGrady near midcourt and coasted for a slam
to tie the game at 74 with 19.4 seconds left.

McGrady then held the ball at the top of the circle, blew by Devean George and
Odom, then used his left hand to lay the ball off the glass successfully. It
was his only basket of the fourth quarter.

“My only thought was to attack the basket and I got a great look,” McGrady
said.

Smush Parker’s three-point attempt from the right corner failed at the final
buzzer.

“We faltered badly in the second half,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.
“Our offense got stagnant. Give Houston credit, they’re a good defensive team.
We just stood there and watched McGrady get a layup. It’s inexcusable.”

The Lakers led 14-12 after one quarter and stretched that advantage to 42-31
at halftime. A Parker layup moved LA to a 52-40 cushion with 7:53 left in the
third, but Houston responded with a 20-2 rally.

A Wesley jumper capped the burst with 3:02 remaining in the quarter, boosting
Houston to a 60-54 lead. The Rockets led 65-57 going into the fourth.

Game Notes

Juwan Howard had 10 points for Houston…Parker and Brown each scored 11 for
LA…The Lakers shot 35.2 percent from the field, compared to 39.2 percent
for Houston…The Lakers were 5-of-20 from three-point range…Rockets center
Dikembe Mutombo dislocated his finger.

HOU LAL