McGrady, Yao Keep Rockets Streaking
Houston 104, Seattle 98
SEATTLE, Dec. 15 (Ticker) -- Now that he's healthy for the first time this season, Tracy McGrady isn't going to let something like fatigue keep the Houston Rockets from streaking.
McGrady scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help the Rockets post their fifth straight win, a 104-98 triumph over the slumping Seattle SuperSonics.
"The team is in better shape as far as in sync offensively and defensively," McGrady said. "Having me back, the ball is in my hands 90 percent of the time and the offense rides with myself and Yao.
"Winning on the road is not hard at all. We are just very confident and we know how crucial this road trip was for us. We are playing extremely well on both ends of the court."
Despite playing nearly 46 minutes in Wednesday's overtime win at Golden State and 48 minutes Thursday, McGrady insisted he couldn't think about being tired.
"You are fatigued, but you can't go out and dwell on that," McGrady said. "You go out and play for 2 1/2 hours and get your money's worth."
Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy also discounted any "fatigue factor" by the Rockets.
"We feel great," he said. "They are superbly conditioned athletes. Back-to-back is not hard. They all felt great."
The SuperSonics went on a 12-1 run midway through the final period to take an 88-84 lead with 5:55 to go.
However, McGrady countered by hitting a pair of 3-pointers, then made a free throw that made it 91-90, giving Houston the lead for good with 3:25 remaining.
"In the fourth quarter I was just more aggressive," McGrady said. "In the first half, I was looking more to get my teammates the ball because those guys were double-teaming me every time I touched the ball. In the second half, I knew I was going to have to step up and be more aggressive."
"Tracy McGrady put on a performance, but I still think we shot ourselves in the foot," Sonics coach Bob Weiss said. "He's undefendable 1-on-1. We had opportunities to win that ballgame. We had some breaks we didn't convert."
Yao Ming scored 10 of his 26 points in the final three minutes, including all six of his free throws in the final 34 seconds to preserve the victory.
"He's a big man with a pretty good touch," Rockets guard David Wesley said. "In practice he shoots as good as anybody from 15 feet."
"(McGrady) can hurt you with the shot or the pass," Van Gundy said. "Obviously a pick-and-roll with him and Yao together is hard to guard."
Ray Allen had his 30-point effort wasted by Seattle, which has lost four of their last five games, with all of the setbacks at home.
"I'm not discouraged," Allen said. "Everybody is out there working hard and it seems like we are just one or two plays away from breaking through.
Forward Rashard Lewis was held to just 15 points and was 5-of-12 from the field in 39 minutes.
"I never like seeing him get only 12 touches," Allen said. "He definitely should get more touches. When a team takes him off the block we have got to find other ways to get him the ball."