Friday , Mar , 02 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

McGrady’s strong play has to continue for Houston

(Sports Network) – All-Star Tracy McGrady is having a great season for the
Houston Rockets. The 6-8 McGrady is averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and a
team-best 6.1 assists in 48 games.

McGrady has scored more than 22 points in four straight games and is averaging
31.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per contest in that span. He has
scored in double-digits 44 times and has collected nine double-doubles during
the campaign.

The Rockets continue to play without All-Star center Yao Ming, who leads the
Rockets in scoring (25.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg). He suffered a non
displaced fracture in a bone under his right knee during a 98-93 loss on
December 23rd to the Los Angeles Clippers. Houston is 19-11 without Yao, who
is expected to return in mid-to-late March.

The Denver Nuggets attempt to extend their winning streak to three games when
they welcome the Rockets on Friday to the Pepsi Center. It is the third and
final meeting of the regular season between the squads. The teams split the
previous two contests, as both clubs picked up a win on the road.

The Rockets have won two straight and three of their last four at Denver.

Houston enters Friday’s game on a two-game losing streak. Rookie Andrea
Bargnani scored 20 points to lead a balanced Toronto attack as the Raptors
downed the Rockets, 106-90, on Wednesday at the Toyota Center.

McGrady returned after missing a game with flu-like symptoms to score 22
points in the loss to Toronto for the Rockets, who have dropped four of their
last six games overall. Shane Battier netted 16, while Rafer Alston
contributed 12 points in defeat.

The Rockets are a respectable 15-13 on the road this season. Houston will host
the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday at the Toyota Center in the fourth and final
meeting of the regular season between the clubs. The Rockets are 2-1 against
the Spurs in the campaign. San Antonio has won three straight after losing its
last two at Houston.

Houston is the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff race, 2 1/2 games
ahead of the sixth-seeded Lakers.

The Rockets are scheduled to play 13 of their final 25 games on the road.