HOUSTON, Jan. 2 (Ticker) -- Bob Sura
allowed to Houston Rockets to
forget about their point guard woes and finally climb above
Sura matched season highs with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five
steals while Tracy McGrady
scored 25 points as the Rockets moved
above .500 for the first time in nearly two months with a 99-80
triumph over the reeling Utah Jazz.
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Mired with inconsistency at point guard all season, Houston
(16-15) has tried Charlie Ward
, Tyronn Lue
and rookie Andre Barrett
. It recently traded for David Wesley
and Jon Barry
hopes of stabilizing the slot.
"We're trying to make a push," said Sura, who missed Houston's
first 14 games with a back injury. "We're right in the thick of
the playoff race. We have a tough schedule coming up. But we're
playing better, and we need to get some victories and move up
in the standings a little bit."
The Rockets are above .500 for the frst time since November 9,
when they were 3-2.
"We can't stop playing now," McGrady said. "We've got to look
forward and not look back to the .500 mark. We've come a long
ways from where we started."
Sura, a combo guard, spearheaded a 23-4 run in the third quarter
with seven points and two steals. Wesley capped the spurt with
a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Rockets a 67-52
advantage with 5:45 remaining in the period.
"(Sura) has a 2-guard mentality," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy
said. "He's an aggressive player by nature. We can use those
points as long as they come in the context of our offense.
Balance is welcomed and needed."
The Rockets shot 9-of-12 during the outburst while forcing four
Utah turnovers that led to 11 points. The Rockets had a trio of
three-point plays during the span - two by Yao Ming
, who scored
15 points after missing his first NBA game Wednesday because of
"We need a third scorer besides Yao and Tracy," Sura said.
"Tonight it was me. Other nights it will be other guys. I came
out early and was able to get that first basket, and that layup
"In the third quarter, we had a couple of turnovers, and that
led to easy shots and they opened up a lead," Jazz forward Matt Harpring
said. "The type of basketball that we play, we are just
not a good catch-up team and that hurt us."
The Jazz responded with a 7-0 run over the next 90 seconds but
never got any closer as McGrady scored seven points in the
fourth quarter, shaking off a 6-of-18 shooting performance.
Sura's ballhandling skills plus the roster additions have helped
take some pressure off McGrady, who likes what Sura brings to
"Usually we come in (the locker room) at halftime and we see our
fast break points at three or four," McGrady said. "But tonight
we had 22; that's pretty good. It's the type of basketball I
like. It's a good thing with (Sura) because he pushes the ball
like that and they've got to collapse on him, and we have
shooters spotting up all around the court."
scored 15 points off the bench for Utah, which
has lost 10 of 11 on the road and of 14 of 17 overall.
"Our energy level went to pot, Utah head coach Jerry Sloan
"We have to keep playing because they aren't going to give us a
night off because we need rest. We're not in good shape, and
that's my fault."