The Houston Rockets just got Tracy McGrady back, but it's clear their star guard is not completely healthy.
As McGrady tries to keep playing through the pain, the Rockets look to hand the Seattle SuperSonics the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history as the teams open a home-and-home set on Monday.
After missing 11 games, McGrady came off the bench Saturday, scoring nine points in Houston's 83-81 win over the San Antonio Spurs. He was 4-of-12 from the field and had four rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot in 27 minutes.
McGrady, who is averaging 22.2 points, had been sidelined with a bone bruise, a strained tendon and patellar tendinitis in his left knee. On Saturday, he was wincing in pain during dead balls.
McGrady said it may take some time before he can be completely effective.
"It's a process of knowing my body and knowing that if I were to wait until I get to 100 percent, then I would probably be waiting until the end of the season," he told the Rockets' official Web site. "That's an injury that I'm dealing with right now and, with that said, I made up my mind that I was going to come out and play."
While the Rockets (21-19) try to remain competitive despite McGrady's injury issues, Seattle (9-31) has been unable to do so despite a completely healthy roster.
The Sonics dropped their 10th in a row, matching the worst losing streak in one season in team history, with a 111-96 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. They also lost 10 straight from Dec. 12-29, 1968.
The longest losing streak in Sonics history is 13 games. They lost five in a row to end 2006-07, then dropped eight more to start this season.
"Nobody wants to accept losing," Seattle's Earl Watson said. "But it's real. And it's not easy."
This contest concludes a four-game road trip for the Sonics, who have been outscored by an average of 23.3 points through the first three games.
The latest loss saw Kevin Durant get benched midway through the third quarter after putting up a wild 3-pointer. It was his first pro game in Texas after one year with the Longhorns, but he tied a season low with six points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"I took some bad shots," said Durant, who came back in the fourth. "I took a 3-pointer, and the coach told me to go to the basket. So I put it on myself that he took me out."
So while Durant hopes his second NBA game in Texas goes better than the first, McGrady looks for another strong performance versus Seattle in the first 2007-08 meeting between the teams. McGrady has averaged 33.9 points in his last seven games against the Sonics.
The Rockets have won nine of the last 10 meetings, including all three last season and five straight in Houston. The teams meet again Wednesday in Seattle.
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