BASKETBALL: McGrady leads Rockets to easy victory over Mavericks
TORONTO: Tracy McGrady scored 32 points as the Rockets soared to an easy 90-69 win over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks in National Basketball Association play in Houston on Sunday.
The Mavericks scored 11 points less than their previous season low, due in part to the absence of leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley for the Texas state match-up. Nowitzki sat out the game with a sprained right knee and will undergo a scan on Monday. The German is averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds per game. Finley missed his second straight game due to a bruised left calf and without their two leading players, the second-highest scoring team in the NBA could generate little offense against the Rockets. McGrady suffered an accidental cut on his chin that required six stitches in the locker room in the first quarter.
However, the injury did not slow him down as his jumper put Houston ahead to stay at 48-47 with 7:48 left in the third quarter. McGrady also pulled down 10 rebounds for the Rockets, one of three Houston players to register double digits in rebounds. “Regardless of who was or wasn’t playing, to win this one means a lot,” McGrady said. Yao Ming added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Juwan Howard had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jason Terry scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who faded in the fourth quarter and were out-scored 29-14. Keith Van Horn added 12 points and seven rebounds for Dallas. “I thought we did a good job in just staying mentally ready,” Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. “You cannot minimise them missing Nowitzki. He’s that good. But at the same time, we did some good things.” In other games, Mike Bibby had 19 points and 11 assists as the Kings beat the Detroit Pistons 100-85 in Sacramento.
Kenny Thomas also scored 19 points for the Kings, who won their first home game since dealing Chris Webber, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process. Rasheed Wallace had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost their third straight game as their six-game road trip came to an end. In Boston, Latrell Sprewell sank the winning basket with less than a second remaining to give the Minnesota Timberwolves a 99-97 win over the Celtics. Kevin Garnett had 21 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the T-Wolves, as former Celtic Kevin McHale won his first game in Boston as a head coach. Wally Szczerbiak added 20 points for Minnesota.
Rick Davis led Boston with 22 points, while Antoine Walker had 16 as the Celtics lost for the first time with him in the line-up. In San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored 31 points as the Spurs lost Tim Duncan with an injury but still beat the Utah Jazz 101-94. Duncan left the game nearly four minutes into the third quarter with an apparent sprained ankle. No immediate update on his condition was available. Keith McCleod led the jazz with 18 points. In New Orleans, Chris Bosh scored a career-high 33 points and had 15 rebounds, leading the Toronto Raptors past the Hornets 95-84. reuters