Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Saturday, December 4th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 2nd

76ers 76

(6-10, 1-7 away)

Rockets 77

(7-11, 3-5 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2004

    Toyota Center, Houston, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHI 19 22 18 1776
    HOU 21 14 20 2277

    Top Performers

    Phi: A. Iverson 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl

    Hou: Y. Ming 20 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    McGrady's go-ahead jumper holds up

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Tracy McGrady was having one of his worst shooting nights, but he found his range when it counted most

    McGrady had 17 points, including the winning basket with 25 seconds to play, as the Houston Rockets ended a five-game losing streak with a 77-76 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

    McGrady missed 16 of 22 shots before hitting the big one.

    "I got the shots I wanted tonight, I just couldn't knock them down," said McGrady, whose worst shooting night this season was a 1-for-11 game against Denver. "But it's not how many you miss. It's the ones you make, and I made the last basket of the game."

    McGrady looked awfully good to Jeff Van Gundy, who got his 300th career coaching victory in his 100th game with the Rockets.

    "I thought the more significant baskets he made were when we were down by eight and he made some offensive rebounding plays," Van Gundy said. "Those are will plays, and will usually beats skill.

    "But obviously the last play of the game was big. He got separation and space and made it after a tough night."

    Aaron McKie was covering McGrady much of the game.

    "I was just trying to stay in front of him," McKie said. "He wasn't having a great shooting night. But unfortunately for us, he hit the one he needed."

    After trailing by as many as 11 points in the second and third quarters, the Rockets went on a 13-0 run late in the fourth quarter, led by five points from Scott Padgett and a 3-pointer from Bob Sura with 2:03 remaining, to take a 75-71 lead.

    Marc Jackson, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, hit two free throws with 37 seconds left to put Philadelphia ahead 76-75. McGrady then hit a 20-foot jumper from above the left of the key to give Houston the final lead.

    Jackson missed two shots, and Kyle Korver and Aaron McKie each missed one in the final nine seconds, including McKie's 10-foot jumper at the buzzer.

    "We had good looks," Jackson said, "and I missed a couple of shots I should have made at the end."

    McGrady was thankful.

    "I was thinking please, please don't make those shots," McGrady said of the final seconds. "They had a chance to win a couple of times. I think it was just our night."

    It was the fourth loss in a row for the 76ers, who got 20 points from Allen Iverson.

    "As a team, we can't get that look in our eyes like `Here we go again," Iverson said. "It can't be a mental thing for this team to overcome.

    "It shouldn't have come down to that (the final seconds). We had them down by 10 points in the third quarter and we let them come back."

    Yao Ming had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead Houston.

    Jim Jackson, who averages 13.9 points, was a late scratch from the lineup due to flu-like symptoms. Ryan Bowen, fresh off the injured list, replaced him in the starting lineup and scored a season-high eight points.

    Bowen had six of those points in the first quarter as the Rockets led by as many as five. They settled for a 21-19 advantage at the end of the period.

    Philadelphia went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter that was aided by consecutive 24-second violations by the Rockets. Houston failed to hit a field goal for 6 minutes 26 seconds of the period, managing only five free throws in that span as the 76ers led by as many as six.

    Houston shot just 4-of-19 (21 percent) from the field in the second quarter as Philadelphia led 41-35 at the half. A 9-4 run, fueled by five points from Iverson, gave Philadelphia its biggest lead -- 50-39 with 7:11 to play in the third quarter.

    Despite shooting only 4-of-16 from the field (25 percent) in the third quarter, Houston sank 7-of-8 free throws the final 1:34 to close the gap to 59-55 after three.

    Game notes

    The Rockets activated Bowen and placed forward Bostjan Nachbar on injured list before the game. ... The 76ers are 1-7 on the road. Houston is just 3-5 at home ... Yao's double-double was his team-leading sixth of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 76 77
    FGM-FGA 30-76 (.395) 24-76 (.316)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 3-23 (.130)
    FTM-FTA 12-17 (.706) 26-34 (.765)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-41 11-47
    Assists 22 17
    Turnovers 16 13
    Steals 5 12
    Blocks 4 2
    Fast Break Points 0 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 11 5

    Top Performers

    Allen Iverson Iverson
    Points: 20
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Yao Ming Ming
    Points: 20
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1