DALLAS, April 25 (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady
again shot down the Dallas
Mavericks, who may not be able to get up.
McGrady drilled a crushing 21-footer with 2.2 seconds remaining,
lifting the Houston Rockets to a 113-111 victory over the
Mavericks and a commanding 2-0 lead in their Western Conference
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scored a playoff career-high 33 points and McGrady
added 28, 10 assists and eight rebounds as the fifth-seeded
Rockets left the American Airlines Center in stunned silence for
the second time in three days.
McGrady scored 34 points in Houston's 98-86 victory in Game 1 and was at it again in this one. In the first quarter, he had a
thunderous driving dunk over 7-6 Shawn Bradley
that had his
"That's a poster for my kids," McGrady said. "I was hoping he
was going to jump. I didn't care what kind of contact I was
going to get because I knew those guys were going to get
physical tonight if I brought the ball to the hole."
But McGrady's biggest basket came in the game's biggest moment.
After Dirk Nowitzki
sank a jumper that tied it at 111-111 with
10 seconds left, the Rockets opted not to call timeout and
McGrady dribbled upcourt.
Yao set a screen at the 3-point arc and McGrady dribbled right.
Keith Van Horn
inexplicably stepped back instead of forward,
giving McGrady room to sink the shot.
"When the game was tight and we were up by two, coach asked me
in the huddle, if (Dallas) scored what did I want to do, call a
timeout or just take the ball out," McGrady said. "I told him,
'Let's not call timeout.' He told me to tell Yao to set a high
screen, so I went over and told Yao that if they score we have
the ball out. The only thing I was thinking about was winning
the game. Yao set it great for me. I came off and knocked the
shot for the game-winner."
"I was really up on him," said Van Horn, who was about five feet
away as McGrady went into his shot. "I almost thought I fouled
him. I contested the shot. He hit a tough shot from about 22
feet out. We would have liked to have seen that ball miss, but
there's a lot of other possessions where we needed to play much
Van Horn was surprised the Rockets did not call timeout.
"In those situations you expect a timeout to be called," Van
Horn said. "But obviously they were feeling good about how they
were running the pick-and-roll with Tracy and Yao and thought
they could get a good shot from there."
's jumper missed at the buzzer, leaving the
fourth-seeded Mavericks -- who began the postseason with dreams
of an NBA championship -- staring a sweep in the face as they
head to Houston for two games.
In NBA history, only the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969 and Houston
Rockets in 1994 have erased an 0-2 deficit and won a
best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home.
Both teams played extremely well. Houston shot 55 percent
(40-of-73) from the field, including 9-of-18 from the arc, and
committed just 12 turnovers. Dallas shot 50 percent (41-of-82),
including 10-of-15 on 3-pointers, and had 14 giveaways.
McGrady had plenty of help. Yao scored 17 points in the first
quarter and was unstoppable throughout, making 13-of-14 shots
and 7-of-7 free throws. Guards Jon Barry
(16 points), Bob Sura
(14) and Mike James (10) combined for 40 points, including 15 in
the last 8½ minutes.
"I didn't think I would shoot this well today, but all the shots
that I got were shots that I am accustomed to," Yao said. "I
could have missed a few of them, but most of them are shots that
I am comfortable with."
Despite enduring another poor shooting game by Nowitzki,
the Mavericks led by eight points early in the final period.
When the Rockets rallied within 96-95, Nowitzki came alive with
two jumpers and a feed to Erick Dampier
for a dunk and a 102-95
bulge with 5:41 to go.
"We got what we wanted offensively in the fourth quarter,"
Nowitzki said. "We just have to find a way to get things done
Nowitzki, who scored 26 points on 8-of-21 shooting, made two
free throws for a 105-101 advantage with 4:05 remaining. But
Sura sank two 3-pointers to give Houston a 109-107 lead with
2:15 to play.
"Jon Barry had been hitting threes all night from the corner, so
I knew they weren't going to come off of him," Sura said.
"That's a shot I'm going to take every time whether it goes in
or not. If it's wide open, you've got to shoot those kind of
, who scored 15 points, tied it with a jumper at the
1:53 mark. Van Horn, who has been quiet in
big games in the past, did not take an open jumper before throwing away a
pass and McGrady made him pay, penetrating and finding Yao for a
dunk and a 111-109 lead with 1:06 left.
"I was trying to drive Yao Ming," Van Horn said. He was on me.
... They really sealed up the paint and I was trying to find an
opening to get to the hoop. The ball just came loose."