for this game

McGrady's triple-double helps Rockets down Grizzlies

Dec 6, 2007 - 5:43 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- A few days of rest did the Houston Rockets some good.

Tracy McGrady had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds - his third career triple-double - and Bonzi Wells added a season-high 24 points for the Rockets en route to a 105-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Playing its first game in four days, Houston rebounded from Saturday's loss in Sacramento by taking out its frustration on Memphis.

McGrady did his best to facilitate the offense in the first half with seven assists and seven rebounds at the break even though he was unable to find his stroke.

"I've been flirting with them and it's good to finally get one," McGrady said of his first triple-double for the Rockets. "It doesn't really mean anything. I mean it's definitely an accomplishment. Those things are hard to come by. I definitely have to credit my teammates for knocking down the shots. Finally, we made shots tonight. I have to credit myself for rebounding."

McGrady and Yao Ming have been doing their part lately, but the rest of the Rockets have been shooting poorly while Houston lost 8 of 11.

From the beginning Wednesday night, McGrady set out to get more than just Yao involved in the game. McGrady dished out four assists in the first quarter, when the Rockets took a 24-20 lead and never trailed again.

"Coming into the game, I was passing the ball, just trying to get these guys open," he said. "I wasn't trying to be as as aggressive on the offensive end. I was trying to do whatever it takes to build confidence for my teammates. When it was time for me to take shots, I didn't really have rhythm. I tried to do other things to be effective."

The Grizzlies were able to get within 66-59 at 5:26 of the third quarter, but McGrady, who hit only three of his first 15 shots, warmed up in the third by scoring seven points.

McGrady completed the final leg of his first triple-double since February 23, 2003, at 5:18 of the final quarter when he grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer from Memphis' Rudy Gay.

The last Rocket to record a triple double was Steve Francis in March 2003 against Golden State.

"He is so hard to stop because he does so much," Memphis swingman Mike Miller said of McGrady. "Triple-doubles are tough to come by. Tracy is one of the toughest guys to guard in this league, but it's also what he does for his team to make everybody else better."

However, the ability to get his teammates involved early helped Wells spark the Rockets with 16 first-half points to give Houston a 55-42 advantage at intermission.

Wells and rookie Luis Scola allowed Houston take charge in the second quarter when the Rockets outscored Memphis, 31-22. The duo scored 12 points apiece in the period while Memphis received virtually no offense from its bench.

"We took advantage that they had a smaller guy on him," Houston coach Rick Adelman said of Wells. "He was very active on the boards. When he gets around the basket like that and has an advantage, he's going to be successful."

"That's my stuff," Wells said. "They were going kind of small at the (off guard). It's so easy to make layups, and I've been missing them. Tracy said they found me on the milk carton.

"A lot of times (teams) are trying to get the ball out of Yao and McGrady's hands. We talked among ourselves, we have to help these guys. It takes a lot of pressure off them (if we can score)."

Houston's bench outscored Memphis' reserves, 42-9, in the contest.

"Both those guys gave us a huge lift, when you get that kind of production off the bench," Adelman said of Wells and Scola.

Adelman was pleased with his offense, at least for this night, in part because it was not limited to McGrady and Yao.

"We have to be able to do it consistently," he said. "That's been the problem. You need somebody to give you scoring off the bench. We need more balance."

"We had balance tonight," Houston forward Shane Battier said. "A balanced basketball team will have longer and more consistent success."

The Grizzlies could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way as Yao scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half, including a pair of emphatic power dunks.

Gasol had 23 points and 12 boards for the Grizzlies, who fell to 2-7 on the road this season.

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