Balanced Attack Leads Rockets Past Clippers
Houston 128, L.A. Clippers 97
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 (Ticker) --The Houston Rockets have been beating on the rest of the league of late. However, what they've done to the Los Angeles Clippers is not a new trend.
All-Star Tracy McGrady scored 28 points to lead six players in double figures as the Rockets posted their seventh win in eight games, a 128-97 drubbing of the Clippers.
"This team's a tough matchup for us. They just beat our (rears) and they outworked us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "McGrady hit a lot of tough shots to get them going. We had a lot of hands in his face, but he's got that ability."
"We are definitely surging right now," McGrady said. "We are believing in one another and we understand that we are not too far away. We are just concentrating on one game at a time."
McGrady, who shot just 3-of-20 from the field in Sunday's win over New York, scored 19 points in the first half, including a layup with 2:15 left before the break to cap a 16-7 burst that gave Houston a 55-43 lead.
"This is a long season and we have been struggling of late," McGrady said. "You just have to continue to have confidence and go out there and play. That's coming from a scorer. You never stop shooting the ball."
Rafer Alston, who collected 17 points and 13 assists, finished an 11-2 third-quarter surge with a basket that made it 84-61 with 5:11 remaining in the session.
"Rafer has been doing a great job of pushing the ball in transition and the more you run, the more opportunities you're going to get," said Rockets guard David Wesley, who scored 16 points. "You may not get them all the time. We are starting to get into a better habit of running and getting easy baskets."
Sam Cassell scored 25 points before berating referee Eli Roe over a foul call and receiving a double-technical with 37 seconds left in the third quarter. Things deteriorated in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles without its floor general.
"(Cassell) getting thrown out had a big impact and (injured forward Corey) Maggette had a big impact too," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We know how much injury and change can affect performance and results."
Newly acquired Keith Bogans scored 13 of his 18 points in the final period for the Rockets, who shot a season-high 58 percent (47-of-81).
"We had an unbelievable shooting night, shooting 58 percent from the floor," McGrady said. "We had several guys in double-digits, shooting 53 percent (7-of-13) from the arc."
Cuttino Mobley scored 23 points and Elton Brand added 21 for the Clippers, who did not have another player score more than seven as they lost for the second straight game to a last-place team.
"I hope this is just a little bump in the road," Mobley said. "Maybe we are just tired from the (six-game) road trip. We need to figure it out though."