Wednesday , Nov , 29 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Battier leads Rockets past Timberwolves

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Shane Battier scored 17 points and hit a pair
of momentum-changing three-pointers in the fourth quarter, as Houston won its
fourth straight contest, 82-75, over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Battier made all five of his three-point shots and Yao Ming had a big game
with 25 points and 10 rebounds, as the Rockets won for the ninth time in 11
contests.

“It’s kind of exciting to think that if we put it all together and play well
for 48 minutes, what we can do,” Battier said. “I think our defense has been
great the last couple of games and that is going to be our calling card.”

Rafer Alston had 13 points and seven assists, but Tracy McGrady tied a season-
low with eight points and suffered a left hip injury in the first half. He
played nearly 33 minutes and also had seven assists, but shot just 4-of-14
from the field.

“I believe he got kicked,” Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said of McGrady. “His
energy tonight wasn’t as high as before that (injury).”

Kevin Garnett scored 25 points and had 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which lost
its second in a row. Randy Foye added 11 points for the Timberwolves, who had
won their last four in Houston.

Facing a 62-51 deficit early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota went on a 17-6
run to tie the game. Troy Hudson’s three-pointer evened the scoreboard at 68
with 4:42 left.

Minnesota had a chance to go ahead, but Craig Smith was whistled for
traveling. Battier then buried a three, and after Smith made two from the foul
line, Battier drained another shot from beyond the arc.

Alston then came up with a steal and connected on another three for Houston
for a 77-70 lead with 2:16 left and Minnesota never threatened down the
stretch.

“I don’t know how they got so open in the corner,” Minnesota’s Ricky Davis
said. “Shane Battier killed us when we were in the zone, and I don’t know how
he got those shots. We have to work on it.”

Chuck Hayes had 11 rebounds for Houston, which won despite shooting 38 percent
from the field.

Minnesota also had its troubles offensively, particularly holding onto the
ball, with 20 turnovers.

The T’Wolves scored the game’s first seven points, but Houston put in the next
eight and led 21-17 after 12 minutes. The Rockets led 36-31 at the half and
54-47 going into the fourth.

Game Notes

Houston went 10-of-25 from three-point range…Luther Head went 3-of-12 from
the field for nine points for the Rockets…This is Houston’s first double-
digit win total in November since the 1996-97 squad went 15-1.

HOU MIN