Rockets' fourth-quarter surge scuttles WarriorsFeb 1, 2009 - 5:23 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Rockets are getting used to playing without Tracy McGrady.
McGrady missed his 17th game of the season Saturday, but the Rockets relied on Ron Artest, Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks to carry them to a 110-93 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Artest, starting in place of McGrady, scored 27 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists.
Yao totaled 25 points and 11 rebounds and Brooks tied his career high with 22 points off the bench and set another career best with nine assists.
Instead of relying on his outside shot, which has been on vacation lately, Brooks concentrated more on driving to the basket.
"Coach said to be aggressive," Brooks said. "I knew they didn't have too many shot-blockers. I wanted to attack the rim."
"He was really playing aggressive, and that's what he's got to do," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "He was controlling the game, playing defense."
Brooks played 42 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter.
"I kind of allowed coach to leave me on the floor," Brooks said. "I did a good job of playing defense."
The Rockets blew a 14-point lead in the second half Wednesday at home to Philadelphia, losing 95-93 when they were outscored 24-17 in the fourth quarter. They won the fourth quarter against the Warriors, 29-18.
"It's nice to see we turned it around a bit," Adelman said of the fourth period compared with the Philadelphia game. "As the first half went on I thought our energy level dropped. We talked about it at halftime."
"We still ran our offense," Brooks said. "We didn't relax. We stayed in attack mode."
"He's very fast and he changes the pace of the game when he comes in," Golden State's Stephen Jackson said of Brooks.
McGrady suffered a high ankle sprain Friday in practice.
"I think we've been past that point," Artest said of playing minus McGrady. "The only thing is we didn't have a chance to practice (without him)."
Artest made a big contribution in every department. He shot 10-for-17, including 4-for-6 from outside the arc.
"We felt good about our chances, but Ron Artest made some tough shots and that carried his team to victory," Golden State forward Ronny Turiaf said.
Artest hit a beat-the-clock fallaway with 4:17 to go for a 72-69 Houston lead. The Rockets never trailed again.
Houston's defense also made a difference in the fourth quarter as Golden State shot just 6- for-17.
"We played our best quarter of the game in the fourth," Yao said. "We ran our offense, kept moving the ball. We're talking better (on defense), communicating better. That's what came from our last loss."
Corey Maggette led Golden State with 17 points.
The Warriors hung with Houston for nearly three quarters, leading for the last time at 69-68 midway through the third. Golden State was playing the second half of a back-to-back after beating the Hornets Friday in New Orleans.
"We stayed around for a long time," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I have no complaints. It was a hard game to play after last night, and we didn't play well enough to win. We didn't have enough juice."
Houston also beat Golden State on the boards, 48-35.
The Warriors struggled with foul trouble, mostly trying to guard Yao. Turiaf and center Andris Biedrins committed four fouls each in the first half and Biedrins picked up his fifth only 45 seconds in the third quarter.
Neither fouled out, but they couldn't stop Yao, who was 9-of-14 from the field.
"I don't see any 7-6 players in this league that are as skilled as he is," Turiaf said. "We tried to be physical and make it difficult on him inside."
GOLDEN STATE 93
HOUSTON 110 FINAL
Jan 31 10:59 PM
GOLDEN STATE 75
HOUSTON 81 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 31 10:26 PM
GOLDEN STATE 51
HOUSTON 53 HALFTIME
Jan 31 9:45 PM
GOLDEN STATE 20
HOUSTON 25 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 31 9:08 PM
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