for this game

McGrady outshines Allen as Rockets win fourth straight

Jan 4, 2007 - 6:26 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Without some key teammates, Tracy McGrady and Ray Allen put on scoring display.

McGrady had 31 points and seven assists and Juwan Howard scored 18 as the Houston Rockets recorded their fourth consecutive win with a 103-96 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics, who wasted a 32-point effort from Allen.

A two-time scoring champ, McGrady made 11-of-21 shots, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range. He also pull down six rebounds and sank 6-of-8 free throws.

"(McGrady's) been playing really well," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

"He's unreal," Seattle guard Earl Watson said. "If there is a way to stop him, then it takes team defense that has to play together. My thoughts are just like everyone else, and obviously no one has found a way to stop him."

Allen scored 11 of his points in the decisive fourth quarter for Seattle, which has dropped four of five games overall.

"Ray was lights out," Van Gundy said. "I thought he was fantastic, as usual. He was great without the ball. We were trying to trap him and it didn't work."

Houston is without All-Star center Yao Ming (broken leg), while Seattle has been making do minus forward Rashard Lewis (hand).

"With Yao in the lineup, I don't have to do as much," McGrady said. "He is a big piece that is missing and I've got to pick up some of that scoring. I've got to lead this ballclub while he's out. I've done it before and it's nothing new to me."

Allen hit consecutive shots from the arc with just over four minutes remaining as the Sonics closed to 96-92.

"We were right there and gave ourselves a chance but didn't make our stops at the end," Allen said. "We make small, little mistakes at crucial times of the game and the other team makes a run on us."

However, Howard drained a 20-foot jumper and 40-year-old veteran Dikembe Mutombo converted a three-point play one minute later for a nine-point edge.

"We did a great job as a team closing out this game when they were making a run in the fourth quarter," McGrady said. "If we were in this situation last year, I don't think we knew how to close out games."

Rafer Alston scored 13 points and Mutombo grabbed 12 rebounds for Houston, which received 21 second-chance points and scored 48 points in the paint.

Damien Wilkins scored 19 points and Chris Wilcox added 13 for the Sonics, who shot 50 percent (36-of-72) from the field in dropping their 10th consecutive road game.

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