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McGrady, Rockets push winning streak to 12 games

Feb 25, 2008 - 5:10 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - Tracy McGrady scored 24 points to lead a balanced attack as the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to 12 games with Sunday's 110-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

McGrady scored only eight points in the first half, but took control of the game in the fourth quarter by pouring in nine points in helping Houston record its fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

While Chicago debuted several new players, newly acquired Bobby Jackson was a huge boost off the bench in his first appearance for Houston. He went 5-of-8 from the field for 14 points in 20 minutes.

"(Jackson) asked me what his role would be," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "He brought in energy at both ends. I was really pleased with how he fit in."

Knowing Adelman's offense made it an easier transition for Jackson, who played five seasons in Sacramento under Adelman.

"That's a big plus," said Jackson, who was traded from New Orleans for Mike James and Bonzi Wells on Thursday. "If I didn't know the offense, that would have been a big mess. I happen to be in a great situation with great teammates."

With just a three-point lead at the break, the Rockets turned up the heat in the third quarter as McGrady's 3-pointer capped an impressive 11-5 burst with 4:15 left for a 72-62 advantage.

Houston extended its lead to 14 points in the fourth when the 6-8 McGrady drained an 18-foot jumper to cap a 13-6 run at the 6:20 mark.

"That was a terrific second half," Adelman said. "Tracy really set the tone in the second half. He did a great job attacking the basket and making some big plays."

Chicago's loss was the first with Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes on the court. The pair were acquired from Cleveland in part of a three-team trade that sent Ben Wallace and Joe Smith packing.

Tyrus Thomas scored 18 points and Hughes added 13 as the Bulls dropped the opener of their three-game road trip that concludes at Indiana on Wednesday.

"I like everything about this team and it is going to be fun playing here," Hughes said. "We played a team that has been extremely hot the last few weeks."

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