McGrady leads Houston past Chicago
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady posted 21 points and 11
rebounds, as the Houston Rockets held on for a 101-100 win over the Chicago
Bulls at the Toyota Center.
Ben Gordon scored nine points in the final minute for the Bulls, who trailed
97-95 with 15.2 seconds left. Rafer Alston then scored a pair of free throws
about a second later and Luther Head added a pair with six seconds to go for a
101-95 Houston lead.
Each free throw proved pivotal, as Andres Nocioni scored a layup two seconds
later and, after Luol Deng intercepted an errant Shane Battier pass, drained a
three as time expired.
“I’m not happy, despite the win,” McGrady said. I’m not happy because I know
this has been an on-going process.”
In its last game, Houston led San Antonio by 19 points before falling apart at
about the same point and lost by eight.
Yao Ming notched 20 points and 12 boards for the Rockets, who have won five of
their last six. Alston scored 19 points and Head added 13.
Gordon scored 30 of his 37 points in the second half for the Bulls, who have
dropped three of four. Deng netted 15 points, and Kirk Hinrich and Nocioni
added 13 apiece.
“We waited too long to have the type of intensity we needed to win the game,”
Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. “We got aggressive on the defensive end in
the second half, and that gave us the chance to win.”
Houston trailed 26-20 after the first quarter, but opened the second on a 20-6
run. The scoring was capped by a three-point play by Scott Padgett with 4:25
remaining for a 40-32 Rockets lead. Houston led 50-39 at halftime.
Chicago cut two points off its deficit in the third, but got outscored by
eight in the fourth for the final margin.
The Bulls and Rockets split a pair of contests last season. Houston has won
seven of the last eight meetings overall…The Bulls have dropped six of their
last eight at Houston…The teams will meet on January 8th at the United
Center for the second and final time this season.