Rockets rout Raptors
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – A triple-threat of Tracy McGrady, Rafer Alston
and Yao Ming led Houston to a 114-100 rout of the Raptors.
McGrady totaled 24 points and seven assists, as the Rockets won for the fifth
time in six contests. Alston had 23 points, eight boards and nine assists
before fouling out, and Yao contributed 23 points and 12 rebounds for Houston,
which is firmly in the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
Chris Bosh tallied 16 points and 19 rebounds for the Atlantic Division-leading
Raptors, who had a four-game victory streak broken. T.J. Ford led the way for
Toronto with 18 points and eight assists. Juan Dixon ended with 17 points and
Andrea Bargnani scored 16 in a losing cause, as the Raptors never led.
The Rockets immediately distanced themselves from the Raptors by outscoring
the hosts, 35-18, in the first quarter. Houston’s big three had 23 of those
points. That included a big effort from Alston, who finished the night 5-of-8
from beyond the arc.
Consecutive threes by Alston extended Houston’s lead to 19-8. Those shots were
part of a 15-0 run, which was capped by a turnaround jumper from Chuck Hayes,
moving the Rockets’ cushion to 26-8.
Houston hit five three-pointers in the period and continued to dominate in the
second quarter. Luther Head’s driving layup pushed the lead to 50-28 midway
through the second, although the Raptors pulled within 62-53 at the half.
A pair of Ford free throws had Toronto within seven points early in the third,
but Alston nailed a three on the ensuing possession for a 67-57 margin. Five
consecutive points from McGrady pushed the lead to 83-65.
It was 87-72 going into the fourth and Toronto never closed within double
digits in the final 12 minutes.
The Rockets snapped a three-game skid in the series…Toronto fell to 23-10 at
home, while Houston moved to 18-15 on the road…Toronto guards Jose Calderon
and Anthony Parker were out with sprained ankles…Juwan Howard had 10 points
for Houston, while Darrick Martin scored 10 for Toronto…Houston is now 40-6
when leading after three quarters…The Rockets 35 first quarter points tied a
Houston season-high for points in a quarter.