T-Mac leads Rockets Over Magic
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Tracy McGrady scored 34 points, as the Houston
Rockets held off the Orlando Magic, 97-93, continuing their domination in the
Rafer Alston had 20 points for the Rockets, who have beaten the Magic in eight
of the last nine meetings. Luther Head scored 15 and Shane Battier tallied 14
points for Houston, which has won six of its last nine overall.
Grant Hill ended with 21 points and seven rebounds for the Magic, who suffered
their fourth consecutive defeat. Dwight Howard was a force for Orlando with 18
points and 16 rebounds, but Orlando fell for the eighth time in 10 contests.
The defining difference in the game was three-point shooting. Houston ended
14-of-27 from beyond the arc, while Orlando was 4-of-12.
Hill’s three-point play brought the Magic within 93-91 with 47.2 seconds left,
but McGrady nailed a jumper with 33.3 seconds remaining.
A pair of free throws by Trevor Ariza had the Magic within 95-93 with 21.2
seconds to go, and after Alston hit 1-of-2 foul shots with 20.2 seconds left,
the Magic had a chance to tie. However, instead of opting for a three-pointer,
Arizona drove the lane, but missed a layup. Kirk Snyder got the rebound for
Houston and iced the victory by making one free throw.
The Rockets opened the game with an 8-0 run and led 26-17 at the end of the
first quarter. Houston maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second
with Alston and Head hitting back-to-back three-pointers for a 51-39 halftime
Orlando, trailing by 13 midway through the third, went on a 17-9 spurt,
capped Hedo Turkoglu’s reverse layup, and got within 72-70 with 1:11 left.
McGrady then drained a pair from the charity stripe and Alston added a layup,
extending the Rockets’ lead to 76-70 going into the fourth.
Houston has won five in a row at Orlando…McGrady went 15-of-18 at the foul
line…Ariza had 14 points and Jameer Nelson 12 for the Magic.