for this game

McGrady, Rockets capture 16th consecutive win

Mar 6, 2008 - 6:06 AM By Ted Dunnam PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - Tracy McGrady scored 23 of his 25 points in the first half as the red-hot Houston Rockets stormed to their franchise-record 16th consecutive win, a 117-99 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

McGrady cooled off dramatically, but there was plenty of help elsewhere for the Rockets, who passed their franchise-best streak set in the 1992-93 season and matched the following campaign, when they won the first of two straight championships.

"That's a terrific accomplishment for our guys," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We played really solid for a long time. Tracy was on fire the first half.

"We are having some regular-season success right now, but we know the big picture is getting it done in the postseason," Houston guard Rafer Alston said.

Houston's bench scored all of its points during a 15-0 run which built a 51-36 advantage with 6:41 remaining in the second quarter and never relinquished the lead thereafter.

Luther Head connected on two 3-pointers, reserve forward Chuck Hayes added five points while the newly acquired Bobby Jackson and guard Aaron Brooks each contributed two during the run.

"We love playing with each other," Alston said. "Our young guys have been great. You can't say enough about those guys (Luis) Scola, (Carl) Landry, Aaron - they've been great for us."

After the Pacers closed within 51-40, McGrady poured in seven straight points to help the Rockets extend their lead to 58-40 at the 3:29 mark.

Four of Houston's final five field goals of the first half were from the arc, with McGrady hitting the last one which gave the Rockets their biggest cushion at 66-43 with 1:27 left.

"We're going to be in the books for a long, long time," McGrady said. "It was a short-term goal that we wanted to accomplish. We got it done, but it doesn't stop there.

"We have great chemistry and guys know their roles. If you want to just focus on me, I have other guys that are just playing out of their minds right now. Defensively, we are locking people down. Whatever it takes for us to win ball games right now, we are doing it."

Houston shot a blistering 57 percent (27-of-47) in the first half and outrebounded Indiana, 25-16, during that stretch.

The Pacers trimmed the lead to 83-76 in the third quarter before the Rockets ended the period on an 11-2 run for 16-point lead. Scola scored all 13 of his points in the third in helping his club maintain its advantage.

"They are a really good basketball team, and we didn't have it," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "McGrady got them started and then their momentum became a snowball effect. They are a better basketball team by a large margin."

Alston netted 21 points and Head added 14 for Houston, which had its largest lead with 5:20 left when Jackson's shot from the arc made it 108-82.

Troy Murphy had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Danny Granger also scored 17 for the Pacers.

"(The Rockets) are playing really well," Murphy said. "I think the league anticipated a drop-off when Yao (Ming) went out, but it never happened."

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