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Brown, Hornets contain McGrady to continue stellar play

Feb 4, 2007 - 7:02 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets finally had an off night.

McGrady was contained for most of the game by Devin Brown, who scored 18 points as the New Orleans Hornets dominated the glass in an 87-74 victory over the Rockets for their fifth win in their last six games.

Tyson Chandler collected 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who were inspired after guard Desmond Mason committed a hard foul on McGrady in the first quarter. Mason and Houston guard Rafer Alston were ejected for jawing at each other after the play.

"At first I didn't think anything of (the foul)," McGrady said. "It was just a hard NBA foul. I see some of the fouls that guys get around the league, and they are weak. I was cool with it and I am sure he didn't try to hurt me. I didn't even know who fouled me really until I saw Desmond and Rafer going at it."

Alston admitted the situation got out of hand.

"It was an exchange of words, and those words led to more words and words got out of hand," Alston said. "Words that you cannot say on television. I didn't think we were going to get ejected, but we did. It's not something that you want to have happen, especially when it involves two key players on the team."

After taking the foul, McGrady fell hard on his right wrist and played tentatively for the rest of the contest. He had been sensational during the Rockets' five-game winning streak, averaging 30 points, but made just 7-of-16 shots Saturday.

"It was just one of those nights where we couldn't put the ball in the hole," McGrady said. "We didn't play so well. It's just so disappointing because we've been playing so well lately, and tonight we just didn't have it."

A role player signed during the season, Brown has played plenty of minutes for the injury-ravaged Hornets. He was 6-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-8 3-pointers, but made his biggest contribution with his tenacious defense on McGrady.

"Devin was fantastic on both ends, and right now, we are feeling pretty well," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We like the way we are playing. We are starting to play a lot better, but there is a danger in that. When you start to believe everything that is written, that can be negative."

Star point guard Chris Paul had 12 points and nine assists for the Hornets, who shot 40 percent (29-of-72).

"Right now, I think we're playing at full stride, and I would like to see this continue," Paul said.

Luther Head scored 14 points and Bonzi Wells added 13 for the Rockets, who shot just 37 percent (29-of-78).

"When you're not ready to play, everything is harder," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We weren't playing particularly well before that and neither were they. I don't think they were any more ready to play than we were tonight, but they saw an opportunity in the second half and took it. We did not.

"With that being said, what Rafer and Mason did was inexplicable, that it was more important to get the last word in than it was thinking about your team's needs."

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