for this game

After altercation, Rockets rattle Suns

Nov 13, 2008 - 7:37 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half as the Houston Rockets downed the Phoenix Suns, 94-82, on Wednesday in a game marred by an altercation.

The Rockets, who led by seven points at the half, broke open the game in the third quarter as McGrady shook a slump to lead a 30-18 charge that gave Houston a 74-55 lead.

"It was a terrific win for us," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "We stormed back and really controlled the tempo well the whole game and made shots.

"We shot better earlier and we moved the ball better, but we got back defensively. We wanted to keep them out of the paint and keep (Amare) Stoudemire from getting to the foul line. Our guys did a good job and Phoenix had a tough night shooting."

The game turned rough in the final half-minute of the third period when the Suns' Matt Barnes shoved Rafer Alston, who was attempting to set a pick. McGrady hit a jumper and Alston went after Barnes. Steve Nash then charged into the melee and McGrady pushed him to to the floor. Shaquille O'Neal then played sheriff and shoved McGrady and the pile to the floor.

"I just saw my teammate getting into it and Nash ran up and I was just defending my brother and, the next thing I know, I was on top of him," McGrady said. "The big fella pushed ... me."

Barnes and Alston, of course, continued to agree to disagree.

"He (Barnes) took a cheap shot at me," Alston said. "Look at the replay and you see the ref standing right there and watch it. It was a dirty play. He raised his arm and came in. Good thing he didn't connect to my face and knock my teeth out.

"I was just setting screen for Mac and, I don't know if he was frustrated by his game, their game, but there was no call for that. There was no call for the reaction but sometimes when someone goes at you like that you just react."

Barnes downplayed the entire incident.

"It was a physical game out there. I tried to get through a screen and I guess I was too rough for them so he (Alston) tried to retaliate," Barnes said. "It was just a bunch of pushing. I didn't think anyone should have been thrown out. There were no punches thrown.

"I play hard ... that is how I play. I tried to fight through a screen and he didn't like it. They hit us with a couple of hard screens and they are not going to screen me hard. You always have to watch out for you team especially when it is your star point guard. They hit Steve with a hard screen and they hit me earlier with a hard screen."

When order was restored, Barnes and Alston had been ejected and Nash, McGrady and O'Neal were given technical fouls.

"It was just a shoving match. I saw somebody push my brother Steve and so I came to his aid," O'Neal said. "It wasn't anything good. That's what I do, move piles."

Insult was then added to injury. With Nash bleeding from his neck, he brought the ball up the court and launched a half-court shot at the end of the quarter. The ball banked in, but replays showed it had been released after the buzzer.

That was it for the excitement as the Rockets maintained a comfortable margin in the final 12 minutes.

"Disappointing game for us," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "First half, both teams struggled offensively. Second half, they got hot hit some big shots and we couldn't get any loose balls and things didn't bounce our way. They kept rolling and we couldn't come up with answers."

Aaron Brooks scored 19 points and Yao Ming added 17 for Houston.

Phoenix was led by O'Neal, who had 18 points and 13 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa also scored 18 points.

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