Final - OT
  for this game

McGrady, Rockets outlast Kings in overtime once again

Feb 14, 2007 - 6:36 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady nearly gave the Houston Rockets a win in regulation. He teamed with Luther Head to put away the Sacramento Kings in overtime.

McGrady scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Head added four in the extra session as the Rockets captured a 109-104 victory over the Kings.

Following up on its 115-111 overtime win at Sacramento on January 13, Houston (33-18) captured its fourth victory in its last five games to remain one game behind San Antonio for second place in the Southwest Division.

"It wasn't pretty, but we really found a way to win tonight," said Rockets swingman Shane Battier, who scored 25 points. "These are the sort of wins that add up and really make a difference at the end of the year. We didn't give in, we fought and we will take the win."

A second OT victory did not appear possible after the Kings grabbed a 92-83 advantage on a 17-foot jumper by Ron Artest with 4:35 remaining in regulation. However, McGrady took over, scoring 10 points during a 12-0 run that gave the Rockets a 95-92 edge with 1:20 to play.

"When we started to realize it was a winnable game, we started playing with great energy, getting out in transition," McGrady said. "The momentum shifted to our side. I felt like if we could keep it close in the fourth quarter, it was going to be our game."

"T-Mac got hot on us," Kings forward Kenny Thomas said. "What did he have - 16 in the fourth quarter?"

Artest answered back with a driving layup for Sacramento, but McGrady added a layup for a 97-94 lead with 57 seconds left.

Tying a career high with 39 points, Artest hit a 3-pointer to tie the score and the contest went into overtime after both teams committed turnovers.

One of those turnovers occurred when Artest was holding the ball in the closing seconds of regulation, but he slipped to the floor and lost it. McGrady picked it up and launched a 38-foot attempt that hit off the backboard at the buzzer.

"I slipped twice and then the ball got caught in my legs," Artest said. "Stuff like that didn't happen other times, but it happened tonight. It's unfortunate it happened at that time."

In the extra session, McGrady gave Houston the lead it did not surrender, hitting a turnaround jumper deep from the right wing for a 105-104 edge with 1:29 remaining.

After Mike Bibby missed a 3-pointer for the Kings, Head extended the lead on a driving layup with 32 seconds to go. Head also played a crucial role on the defensive end, knocking the ball out of bounds off John Salmons 23 ticks later.

"We were trying to get (Kevin) Martin coming off a screen," Sacramento coach Eric Musselman said. "He had a good look on the play before, but it didn't work.

"The game was a lot like the game we played at our place. It could have gone either way. All plays at the end of the game are critical."

Head, who finished with 15 points off the bench, added two free throws with seven seconds left to seal the win.

Battier finished 4-of-9 on 3-pointers, including one in overtime, and Rafer Alston scored 18 points for the Rockets, who captured their first win in in 14 games when trailing after three quarters.

McGrady, who shot 11-of-26 from the field, also handed out 12 assists to record his seventh double-double of the season. It was the fifth game that he had reached double digits in assists.

Artest shot 12-of-23 from the field with five 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds for Sacramento, which dropped its second straight game following a five-game winning streak.

"He's so tough going to the basket, and he's a competitor," Battier said. "When you lace them up against Ron Artest, you're in a battle all night long."

Martin added 21 points for the Kings, who finished with just 13 turnovers, but clearly committed them at the absolute worse times.

"They had four more turnovers than we did," Musselman said. "It doesn't matter if you make them at the (start) of the game or the end."

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