Rockets rout Bobcats to complete series sweepFeb 11, 2007 - 6:21 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Once again the Houston Rockets' defense stood tall.
All-Star Tracy McGrady and Juwan Howard scored 16 points apiece for the Rockets en route to a 104-83 triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats, who dropped their fourth straight game.
In their first matchup, the Rockets' defense held Charlotte to a season-low 62 points on a franchise-worst 28 percent (23-of-81) shooting from the floor on December 8.
"Houston played pretty good defense," Charlotte center Emeka Okafor said. "They play true team basketball, and you can't ask for much more."
The win also marked the first season-series sweep for Houston against Charlotte, which is just in its third year as an NBA franchise.
In the second quarter, Okafor's dunk pulled the Bobcats within 43-39 with 7:16 left, but they would get not closer thereafter. Houston outscored Charlotte, 17-7, over the final seven minutes for a 60-46 edge at intermission.
"They got it going, and we weren't hitting our shots," Bobcats guard Raymond Felton said. "They are a tough team with so many weapons, and it is hard to come back on them."
The Rockets bounced back well from Friday's dismal 95-74 setback at Dallas, where they shot a season-worst 33 percent.
"We played the entire game, and I think that was the difference between and (Friday)," Houston guard Rafer Alston said. "We got up and down the court, and we shared the basketball. We trusted the pass."
Dikembe Mutombo had a season-high 14 points and 14 rebounds and Alston added 14 points and a career-high nine steals for the Rockets, who have won three of their last four games.
"To see how (Dikembe's) grinding through these games and these minutes against front-line players is inspiring," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy was not the only person at Toyota Center in full amazement of the 40-year-old Mutombo.
"That big guy still understands the game and who he is," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "His durability is amazing. That was a 7-footer running down balls out there. He understands defense in the paint."
"Mutombo was getting all the loose boards and easy putbacks," Okafor said. "He was making it tough on our guys to score inside."
Alston's nine steals were the second highest in franchise history, surpassing his previous high of five.
"It shows that I can play some defense," Alston said. "It shows that I can really put a lot of energy on the defensive side of the ball and be all over the place out there."
Felton netted 16 points and Okafor chipped in 15 and 12 rebounds for Charlotte, which committed an eye-opening 27 turnovers.
"They played well enough to win, and we shot ourselves in the foot," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said.
HOUSTON 104 FINAL
Feb 10 10:49 PM
HOUSTON 82 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 10 10:22 PM
HOUSTON 60 HALFTIME
Feb 10 9:42 PM
HOUSTON 29 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 10 9:08 PM
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