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Archive for Friday, January 6, 2006

McGrady gives Rockets lift

January 6, 2006

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— As long as Tracy McGrady's back doesn't give out, he'll gladly carry the Houston Rockets.

McGrady scored 34 points, Juwan Howard made two late jumpers, and the getting-healthier-by-the day Houston Rockets got their second straight quality road victory, 90-81, over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

McGrady surpassed 30 points for the fourth game in a row as the Rockets, who are without center Yao Ming and have been beaten, bruised and battered with injuries all season, followed up a victory at Washington by handing the Cavaliers just their fourth loss in 17 home games.

McGrady did most of the damage, controlling the game's flow during his 43 minutes on the floor.

"I've got to be more aggressive on offense and assertive on defense because the big fella is out," said McGrady, who has missed eight games because of back problems. "I have to attack more, and it seems that when I do, we are playing well. I've got to continue to do that."

McGrady outdueled LeBron James, who had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but couldn't prevent Cleveland from falling to 1-1 since learning that guard Larry Hughes could miss two months because of a broken finger.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 17 points for the Cavs, who didn't help themselves by going just 8-of-18 on free throws and making only seven of a season-high 29 three-pointers.

Cleveland coach Mike Brown was not happy with his team's selection of shots.

"We took too many threes," Brown said. "We got some decent looks, but some shots just wouldn't go in."

The Cavaliers know they've got a tough road ahead without Hughes.

"It's definitely going to be an adjustment without Larry," guard Eric Snow said. "He's our second leading scorer, our second best player and our best perimeter defender. I don't think anyone can fill in for Larry, but everybody has to do a little more."

Despite an off night, Cleveland, which trailed by 17 in the third quarter, got within three in the fourth and was only down 84-78 when Howard dropped two jump shots to put the Rockets back in charge.

Pacers 99, Warriors 89

Oakland, Calif. - Stephen Jackson had 27 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Indiana jumped to a quick lead it nearly relinquished in the waning moments.

Derek Fisher made two free throws with 1:46 left to get Golden State within 91-89 before Jackson scored and was fouled on the other end but missed a free throw.

Austin Croshere added 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Pacers.

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