Thursday , Jan , 25 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets hold off Spurs

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady finished with 37 points,
including a key three-point play down the stretch, as the Houston Rockets
edged the San Antonio Spurs, 90-85, at the AT&T Center.

McGrady also gathered eight rebounds while Rafer Alston had 19 points and
seven assists for the Rockets, who snapped a three-game skid. Houston had lost
17 of its last 18 at San Antonio.

“I never want to be in a game that close with Tracy McGrady,” said Spurs head
coach Gregg Popovich. “He can rise up anyplace on the court and shoot over
people. He’s an unselfish player. He’s wonderful and he proved it again

Tim Duncan erupted for 37 points and also collected 10 boards for San Antonio,
which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Manu Ginobili chipped in with
15 points.

The majority of the game was nip-and-tuck, with Houston holding a 61-58 edge
after three quarters.

The Rockets, though, opened up the final frame with a 13-2 burst that gave the
road team a 74-60 advantage. Shane Battier had six points in the spurt,
including a tip-in bucket with 7:32 remaining to up the lead to 14 points.

San Antonio chipped away over the next couple minutes, and sliced its deficit
to eight following a Michael Finley jumper. The Spurs later moved within five,
83-78, following a Duncan jumper with 1:39 on the clock.

Moments later, with the Spurs down four, Bruce Bowen stripped McGrady and then
fed Duncan, who hit a layup to make it 85-83. He was fouled on the play, but
missed the ensuing free throw.

McGrady had an answer, nailing a jumper from the elbow despite being fouled
in the process. He then dropped in the free throw for a five-point Houston
lead. The Rockets were able to hold their opponent off the rest of the way.

“I thought the difference was our poise,” McGrady said. “We made some careless
mistakes and they stayed in attack mode, we never panicked. We kept our
distance and every time the game got extremely close we did something, we

The defenses dominated the first half, as the Spurs led the low-scoring affair
37-36 at the break.

McGrady heated up in the third quarter, netting 12 points in the frame to push
his team in front.

Game Notes

The Spurs are 15-8 at home this season. They will host the Memphis Grizzlies
on Friday…Houston is a respectable 13-11 on the road this season…The
Rockets now return home for a five-game homestand. They will host Portland,
Philadelphia, Seattle, New Orleans/Oklahoma City and Minnesota on the upcoming