for this game

Head, McGrady lead Rockets past Grizzlies

Jan 1, 2007 - 5:03 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady settled for co-star billing with Luther Head despite a season-best performance.

Head buried two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and McGrady scored a season-high 38 points as the Houston Rockets eked out a 111-109 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Playing in his fourth game since missing seven contests with a back injury, McGrady hit 15-of-30 shots, including five 3-pointers, to give him 69 points in his last two games.

"My team was doing a great job of getting me the ball in the right spots," McGrady said. "I seemed to get rolling early, and I'm playing with a great deal of confidence now."

Nevertheless, Head delivered the biggest shots of the game, capping an 8-0 run for a 104-95 lead with 1:58 to play.

The Grizzlies battled back to slice the lead to four on Mike Miller's 3-pointer with 52 seconds to play, but Head answered with a long shot from the top of the arc 19 seconds later to build the lead to 109-102.

"When Tracy (McGrady) penetrates, he gets so much attention," Head said. "That leaves guys open for shots, and I have a lot of confidence I can knock them down. Every time I shoot it, I feel it's got a good chance to go in. "We came out real aggressive tonight. As long as we play hard and keep playing defense, we'll keep winning."

Head finished with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting and hit 5-of-6 from the arc while Juwan Howard scored 22 as Houston won its third straight game.

Miller nailed seven 3-pointers and was 12-of-17 to pace Memphis with 32 points, but he was limited to 10 in the second half.

"When he hit that first shot, I thought, 'Uh-oh, it's going to be a long night,'" Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "When he gets hot, he's one of the top three shooters in the league. I've known Mike a long time and when he gets on a roll, he's almost unstoppable."

The Grizzlies shot 52 percent (41-of-79) in dropping their first game under interim coach Tony Barone, who took over on an interim basis after Mike Fratello was fired Thursday.

"Mike Miller was phenomenal," Barone said. "He shot the ball well and ran the court for us. He is a tremendous open-court player.

"Tracy McGrady is impossible to guard, and that is the best I can say."