Clippers
Rockets
105 - 109 Final
  for this game

McGrady, Rockets overcome Brand and Clippers

Mar 15, 2007 - 5:44 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets were barely able to overcome Elton Brand.

McGrady scored 21 points and Rafer Alston added 20 as the Rockets posted a 109-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, who have lost five straight games.

Chuck Hayes scored a career-high 16 points and Yao Ming added 14 for Houston, which has won four of its last five games.

"I thought we started off great," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "I was disappointed in our defense and rebounding midway and late in the game, but was happy in the last minute."

The Rockets withstood an outstanding effort by Brand, who scored a season-high 37 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which trailed by 13 early in the period.

"My shot was falling, but I am very disappointed we couldn't get the win," Brand said. "We had too many turnovers late in the game."

After Alston made a steal and subsequent layup to put the Rockets up 104-103 with 1:12 remaining, Brand dunked in traffic to give the Clippers a one-point lead with a minute left.

"We were riding Elton," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "After back-to-back games I thought he had a bounce in his step and we rode him. When he's got his mad-range jumper going he can get you in a lot of tough situations."

However on the Rockets next possesion, McGrady drove the lane and dished to Luther Head, who made a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Rockets ahead 107-105.

"Luther's been knocking those shots down pretty much all season," McGrady said. "He is the one guy who always seems to be open in situations like that."

"On that last three they really stretched us out and banged out a big shot from the corner," Dunleavy said.

The seven-time All-Star dished nine assists, the 11th time this season he's handed out that many in a contest.

"I just have to stay aggressive, draw the attention and find the open guys," McGrady said. "When my guys are just sitting out there by themselves, I've got to be confident enough to know they are gonna knock down open shots."

On the L.A.'s next possesion an attempted pass by Brand to Corey Maggette was deflected by Yao into the hands of Alston who made two free throws giving Houston a four-point lead with 5.9 ticks remaining. McGrady stole Brand's inbounds pass to seal the victory for the Rockets.

"I look at the stat sheet on what we did and we did a lot of great things but turnovers at the end killed us," Maggette said. "We had several opportunities to win the game and let it get away."

Chris Kaman scored 16 points and Brand added 10 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers (29-35), who fall into a virtual eighth place tie with the Golden State Warriors (30-36) in the NBA's Western Conference.








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    HOUSTON 87 END, 3RD QTR

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    HOUSTON 57 HALFTIME

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