DALLAS, May 7 (Ticker) -- Jason Terry
and the Dallas Mavericks are
moving on. Tracy McGrady
again is going home early.
Terry sparked a huge first half to help add to McGrady's
postseason frustration as the Mavericks rolled to a 116-76
demolition of the Houston Rockets in the most lopsided Game
Seven in NBA history.
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The margin of victory surpassed the record of 39 set by the
Philadelphia Warriors in an 85-46 rout of the St. Louis Bombers
in Game Seven of the 1948 league semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks became only the third team in NBA
history to win a best-of-seven series after dropping the first
two games at home. They open the Western Conference semifinals
at top-seeded Phoenix on Monday.
"All season long it's been about perseverance and this series
couldn't be a better example of perseverance," Terry said.
"This series stretched us," said Mavericks coach Avery Johnson
who showed his shrewdness in his first postseason series. "We
were bending, but we didn't break."
Meanwhile, it is another early exit for McGrady, who has yet to
make it out of the first round in eight seasons. The star came
out cold in the second Game Seven of his career, missing seven
of his first eight shots as the Rockets fell behind from the
outset and never recovered.
"I am disgusted and I'm angry and all of that stuff, but at the
same time, I'm not going to hang my head," said McGrady, who is
0-of-5 in playoff series. "I'm 25-years-old and I've got a lot
more years in this league and I will be back next year. I will
be back next year.
"All of this that I'm going through, is only going to make me
tougher. I will never fold regardless of being bounced out of
the first round for four or five years. I won't fold and I will
be back and my team will be back. We will be back better and
McGrady showed his displeasure with 6:41 left in the second
quarter after picking up a technical foul. Terry sank the free
throw to give the Mavericks a commanding 49-25 lead.
"I don't think any of us saw a picture like this. I definitely
didn't see that picture," McGrady said. "I think we came out too
flat. Those guys had a lot more speed, and we couldn't defend
Never able to find his rhythm, McGrady scored 27 points on just
10-of-26 shooting while playing just the first three quarters.
He scored 21 points on 7-of-24 shooting in a Game Seven loss at
Detroit in 2003 while with Orlando.
McGrady failed to show up, but Yao Ming, often criticized for
being soft despite his giant 7-6 stature, did. Yao played
through early foul trouble and matched a playoff career high
with 33 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Terry, the Mavericks' best player in the series, again came up
huge by scoring 31 points. The offensive-minded point guard
scored 13 of his 21 first-half points in a 17-5 run to open the
second quarter that gave Dallas control.
"My mind-set tonight was to come out and set the tone for my
team on both ends of the floor," Terry said.
Led by Terry, who made 8-of-14 shots and all 12 of his free
throws, the Mavericks built a 59-44 halftime lead, then
stretched the advantage to 92-64 after three quarters.
The Mavericks led by at least 13 points the entire second half
and the final score was the largest margin as they reached the
conference semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons.
Josh Howard, who opened the game guarding McGrady, had 21 points
and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who were playing their first
Game Seven since beating Sacramento in the conference
semifinals in 2003.
Hardened veteran Michael Finley also made his presence felt,
making back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 16-6 run over the
final 4:28 of the first quarter that gave Dallas a 32-20 lead.
He made three shots from the arc in the period and finished with
"It was important for us to come out and be the aggressor and
use the home court to our advantage," Finley said. "We did that
tonight right from the jump ball and we maintained throughout
The Mavericks had little trouble finding their offense in the
first quarter, when they made 11-of-22 shots and seemed to score
at will. In Thursday's Game Six loss, they went a woeful
4-of-27 from the floor and scored just 13 points in the fourth
Dirk Nowitzki again struggled with his shooting but had 14
points and 14 rebounds for the Mavericks, who joined the 1994
Rockets and 1969 Los Angeles Lakers as teams to win
best-of-seven series after dropping the first two contests at
The Mavericks shot 51 percent (41-of-80), made 26-of-28 free
throws and held a commanding 52-33 rebounding advantage.
Yao and McGrady were the only ones to score in double figures
for Houston, which shot 35 percent (29-of-82) in getting
eliminated in the first round for the second straight season.
The other eight players to see action combined for just 16
points for the Rockets, who have not been past the first round
"We just cracked," said Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who drew a
$100,000 fine, the largest in NBA history for comments about
the officiating earlier in the series. "That was disappointing
because our team had played well all year, and to crack like
that in the biggest game of the year is disappointing."
"Defensively this was the performance I was looking for the
whole series," Johnson said. "It was right on time."
One of Johnson's key moves was to go to veteran Darrell Armstrong, who had played a total of 11 minutes in the first six games.
Stil quick at 36, Armstrong was called on to guard Mike James,
who had provided the Mavericks headaches throughout the series.
Armstrong helped hold James to just four points, 18 fewer than
he had in Game Six. James also was ejected late in the third
quarter after picking up two technical fouls.
"I felt good to be able to contribute the way I did tonight,"
Armstrong said. "I knew I was going to get the call tonight
because of Mike James. Avery wanted to match me up against Mike
James. It just worked out for the best."
"Give credit to a guy like Darrell Armstrong who hadn't played
much all series," Terry said. "He comes in and frustrates the
heck out of Mike James."