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McGrady, Rockets trounce struggling Hawks

Dec 30, 2006 - 8:33 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady helped continue the Atlanta Hawks' suffering in Houston.

McGrady scored 31 points and Juwan Howard added 17 and 13 rebounds as the Rockets posted a 94-68 victory over the Hawks, who have dropped eight straight games in Houston.

Rafer Alston scored 12 points and reserve Luther Head added 11 for Houston, which improved to 2-1 since losing All-Star center Yao Ming for six weeks to a broken bone below his knee.

"We really have to scrap individually to score points in the paint with Yao being out," Howard said. "We miss Yao a great deal. Tracy was terrific tonight. We've gotten together and not given up, despite who's out."

McGrady - who had his best game in three tries since missing seven with back spasms - shot 13-of-18 from the field for the Rockets, who held the Hawks to a season low in points.

"Each game I'm feeling better, physically, mentally," McGrady said. "It's going to take a little bit of time to get where I want to be."

"I like it when Tracy's just playing," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "He's smart. He's got total freedom. We need him to rebound and shoot free throws better, too."

Atlanta's previous low was 75 points in its season-opening loss to Philadelphia.

"We can't find any offense," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I don't know where we're at offensively. We had good shots in the first quarter and just couldn't make them. Our guys are struggling and our confidence is very low. Once Houston started to make shots, we just couldn't score."

Josh Childress scored 15 points off the bench and Joe Johnson and Shelden Williams each added 11 for the Hawks, who have lost six straight and 10 of their last 11.

It was the third disappointing game for Johnson, who has totaled just 33 points on 15-of-46 shooting over that stretch.

"Joe Johnson's the most underrated player in the league," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "He's all-NBA. We did a good job collapsing on him."

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