HOUSTON, Feb. 9 (Ticker) --
The Chicago Bulls are going to surpass
their victory total of last season. All-Stars Tracy McGrady
just didn't want them to do it at the Toyota Center.
McGrady collected 24 points and nine assists and Yao added 21
and 10 rebounds as the Houston Rockets posted their first
five-game winning streak of the season with a 105-92 triumph
over the Bulls.
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The Bulls (23-23) matched their win total from last season with
a 107-100 triumph at Dallas on Tuesday. They held a 29-28 lead
after one quarter in this one but did not score for the first
6:12 of the second period, allowing the Rockets to score 15
straight points in that span to seize control.
"It's been a great run for us and we've been doing a great job
of sharing the ball," said McGrady, who led the Rockets in
scoring for the 33rd time this season. "We've just been making
the right plays for the team and limiting our turnovers. The
offense is definitely clicking and if we can get our defense on
that same page, then we'll really be a hell of a team."
A layup by Bulls rookie Ben Gordon
with 7:48 remaining cut the
deficit to 86-77 before the Rockets countered with 11 straight
points to put away the game. Yao capped the run with a dunk off
a feed from McGrady to open a 97-77 cushion with 5:27 left.
"The last couple of games we have been really good on offense,"
Yao said. "But for some reason, until tonight, we loosened up
on the defensive side. Tonight, I thought we had no problem
with our offense. The second team did a great job in the second
quarter and that really set the tone for us."
All five starters scored in double figures for Houston, which
made half its 82 shots. The Bulls connected on just 37 percent
Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy was quick to praise the Rockets'
defensive effort, especially David Wesley's
work against the
"I'm still trying to devise a defense where (Wesley) can guard
everybody on the perimeter," Van Gundy said. "He can guard
point guards, and he was all over Gordon and then he'd switch
over to (Kirk) Hinrich. He really set the tone for us
Houston's Dikembe Mutombo
came off the bench to collect six
points and 13 rebounds in just 17 minutes for Houston.
"I think a lot of our playing well had to do with the practice
we had yesterday," Mutombo said. "It was a great practice and
everyone was excited and ready to get out there tonight. It has
been awhile since we have played this well defensively and I
think that had a lot to do with it."
Before doing so on Wednesday, the Rockets had not held any of
their previous nine opponents under 40 percent.
Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 20 rebounds off the bench for
Chicago, which fell to 1-3 on a five-game road trip. Chandler
became the first Rockets opponent to grab at least 20 rebounds
since Denver's Kevin Willis
did it on April 10, 2001.
"For some reason, we just had trouble executing the small
things," Chandler said. "Our offense was out of sync, and you
just can't play catch-up against a good team like Houston."
Chicago coach Scott Skiles said the Bulls had a hard time
finding the basket and guarding Yao.
"We're just not very good against Yao, but I think we did a
respectable game against McGrady," Skiles said. "Houston is a
better team than us and we would have had to play an error-free
game against them just like we did at Dallas last night.
Houston came out, executed and made plays, and that was the game