HOUSTON, April 30 (Ticker) -- Jason Terry
recovered after losing his
handle. Tracy McGrady
and the Houston Rockets suddenly have
lost their handle on this series.
Terry buried a huge three-pointer with 26 seconds remaining and
McGrady again disappeared in the fourth quarter as the Dallas
Mavericks posted a 97-93 victory over the Rockets and evened
their Western Conference first-round matchup at two games
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After dropping the first two games at home, the fourth-seeded
Mavericks used a 20-0 fourth-quarter run to win Game Three on
Thursday night. In this one, the Mavericks overcame a six-point
fourth-quarter deficit to recapture home-court advantage in a
series where the home team has yet to win.
Terry, known as a scoring point guard, had the ball knocked away
with the Mavericks nursing a 91-90 lead with under 30 seconds
left. But Dirk Nowitzki
corralled the loose ball and found
Terry, who drilled a three-pointer from the right side for a
"It (the ball) just ended up in my hands," Terry said. "I just
took the shot and it happened to go in. I feel confident and
comfortable that I can knock (the big shot) down. Having the
ball in my hands at the end of the game is great."
It was the biggest shot of the day for Terry, who carried the
Mavericks in the second half, when he scored 24 of his 32
points. He made 5-of-7 shots from the arc in the second half.
"He's (Terry) a big shot-maker," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson
said. "He kind of did what (Nick) Van Exel did for us a couple
of years ago. I wouldn't consider him a classic point guard,
but he gets the job done."
After David Wesley
drilled a three-pointer to pull the Rockets
within one, Jerry Stackhouse
split two free throws with 12
seconds left to give the Mavericks a 95-93 lead. Stackhouse
missed his second attempt, but McGrady had the rebound poked
away by Josh Howard
and the ball grazed off his arm and out of
Nowitzki sank two free throws - his only points of the fourth
quarter - with six seconds left to seal things.
McGrady, who never has won a playoff series in his eight-year
career, managed just two of his 36 points in the fourth quarter.
He was limited to one basket in the fourth quarter when the
Rockets wilted down the stretch in Game Three.
"Did I have enough help? Absolutely," McGrady said. "I wouldn't
be in this situation if I didn't have enough help. I just
think that right now everybody wants it so bad, we're just not
Dallas hosts Game Five on Monday.
Only two teams, the Rockets in 1994 against Phoenix, and the
1969 Los Angeles Lakers against San Francisco, have come back to
win seven-game series when losing the first two contests at
It started as a struggle in the fourth quarter for the
Mavericks, who missed 12 of their first 14 shots. McGrady's
only basket, a jumper with 5:40 remaining gave the Rockets an
Terry drained a three-pointer with 3:12 left to trigger a 9-0 surge
that put the Mavericks ahead for good. Erick Dampier
a follow shot - his only points - with 2:22 left and
capped the burst with back-to-back jumpers, the second
with 60 seconds remaining.
"If you look at (Terry), he has been a very dominant player
throughout the series," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy
Finley, who managed just a total of 15 points in the first two
games, had his second straight effective game. He scored 18
points on 8-of-13 shooting after a 20-point effort in Game
"We made some big stops," Finley said. "The best thing we did
was stick to our game plan. The shots they (Rockets) made
earlier weren't falling late. We were able to capitalize on
The Mavericks were able to even the series despite another
sub-par game from Nowitzki, who scored 18 points on just 4-of-14
McGrady and Terry staged their own battle in the third quarter,
a period in which the Rockets led by as many as nine points.
McGrady scored 17 points and Terry 16 in the quarter that ended
in a 77-77 tie.
"Somebody has got to take the pressure off of Dirk and Michael,"
Terry said. "Teams focused on them a lot in the regular season
and we know they're going to be on them even more in the
Continuing to form a solid 1-2 punch with McGrady, Yao Ming
added 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting. But the 7-6 giant picked up
his fifth foul with 9:03 remaining and was ineffective down the
McGrady, who made 13-of-26 shots, and Yao were the only Rockets
to score in double figures. Houston shot 47 percent (34-of-72)
and held a 37-32 rebounding advantage.
In the first half, McGrady scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting
to help the Rockets to a 51-48 lead. Scott Padgett
made three-pointers to start the second half, giving Houston its
Stackhouse added 10 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who
shot 46 percent (33-of-72).
"Not enough poise under pressure," Van Gundy said. "On defense,
we don't have enough presence. It's not just the fourth
quarter, it was the start of the game again."