Yao, McGrady lead Rockets to close win over BobcatsNov 12, 2007 - 3:11 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady had to do it all by themselves for the Houston Rockets.
Yao and McGrady combined to score 60 points and made their presence felt on both ends of the floor down the stretch as the Rockets posted an 85-82 comeback victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on the road Sunday night.
The Rockets did not have another scorer in double figures but managed to ride their two superstars in the final period, outscoring the Bobcats by eight points over the final 12 minutes to secure the victory.
"Down the stretch, we did what we had to do," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "We made some good stops and we executed. Tracy was terrific down the stretch, and Yao was good the whole game."
"Tonight was one of those nights where our play on the court wasn't pretty," Houston forward Shane Battier. "Thank the good Lord for Yao and Tracy. Charlotte is a tough team at home. We just made some key plays at the end to pull out the win."
Considered one of the top inside-outside tandems in the NBA, Yao and McGrady took turns blitzing Charlotte, which held a five-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.
"I don't think there's a better 1-2 combination," Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace said. "Tracy is a great offensive player. He can create his own shot or get to the basket and finish.
"And Yao, once he posts in the block, he is so hard to guard. Once he gets the ball, he is almost unstoppable and is also a great passer. That might be the best 1-2 combination since (Michael Jordan) and (Scottie) Pippen."
Overall, Yao scored 34 points on 13-of-15 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line, and McGrady netted 26 on 9-of-20 from the floor and added eight rebounds and four assists.
But it was not easy for the Rockets in the final minutes.
After Raymond Felton's two free throws gave the Bobcats a one-point lead with 38.1 seconds left, Yao grabbed a huge offensive rebound off Rafer Alston's errant 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
"I saw the ball come to me," Yao said. "I said I cannot let this go. I was in the perfect position and just grabbed it."
The 7-5 Yao was fouled on his attempted putback and made two free throws to give the Rockets the lead for good with 20.4 seconds left.
After a timeout, Charlotte had a chance to take the lead, but Gerald Wallace was called for a questionable offensive foul while driving on McGrady with 3.5 ticks left. The energetic Bobcats swingman was nabbed for extending his forearm on the drive - effectively sealing the win for Houston.
"I penetrated to the basket, and I felt like I got fouled, but they said I pushed off," Wallace said.
It was all Charlotte until the final minutes.
"This was a game that we should have lost because we didn't play particularly well," McGrady said. "It just goes to show how good we can be."
Matt Carroll's third 3-pointer of the game gave the Bobcats a 74-67 lead with 6:01 to play and seeming sealed the game. But Yao and McGrady went on a 7-2 run cut the Rockets' deficit to two with 2:54 to play.
"We executed our game plan well," Carroll said. "But it came down to a couple of possessions at the end. That's the NBA. We just couldn't pull it out."
The Bobcats pushed their lead to nine, 69-60, quickly in fourth after baskets by Emeka Okafor and Wallace. Houston then reeled off seven quick points of its own to get back in the game yet again, capped by a 3-pointer from Mike James.
Alston's shot from the arc gave Houston a 43-42 lead after an 8-2 run opened the third quarter for the Rockets.
The Bobcats regained the lead at 50-49 on Felton's second 3-pointer of the game, and then added to it on the next possession with a three-point play by center Ryan Hollins.
Charlotte rookie Jared Dudley put the Bobcats ahead 57-54 on a jumper from the left wing. After Rockets forward Luis Scola's layup, a 3-pointer by Carroll extended Charlotte's advantage to 60-56 late in the third quarter.
Okafor had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats.
CHARLOTTE 82 FINAL
Nov 11 8:25 PM
CHARLOTTE 65 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 11 7:45 PM
CHARLOTTE 40 HALFTIME
Nov 11 7:02 PM
END 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
HOUSTON 14 14
CHARLOTTE 15 15 END 1ST QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 1ST QUARTER
HOU - TRACY MCGRADY 10, CHUCK HAYES 2, YAO
CHA - RAYMOND FELTON 5, GERALD WALLACE 4,
JASON RICHARDSON 4
Nov 11 6:34 PM
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