Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Tuesday, December 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 26th
Game 3: Friday, March 25th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Rockets 82

(24-19, 10-10 away)

Hornets 77

(7-34, 5-13 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, January 26, 2005

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 19 22 14 2782
    NO 16 23 24 1477

    Top Performers

    Hou: T. McGrady 33 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    NO: D. Dickau 23 Pts, 4 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl

    Padgett's 3 puts Houston ahead to stay

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tracy McGrady passed the ball instead of taking a late shot to give Houston the lead -- and the unheralded Scott Padgett gave the Rockets' scoring leader every reason to do it again.

    McGrady scored 10 of his 33 points in the final period to help Houston overcome a 10-point deficit, then set up Padgett's late 3 in an 82-77 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

    "When I see my team is struggling, I've got to be that guy to make a play -- and the right play -- whether it be scoring or a pass to one of my players in the right position for them to score," McGrady said.

    Padgett hadn't scored a point when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. He hit a pair of jumpers before his late 3 made it 76-73 with 28 seconds left, giving Houston the lead for good en route to its fourth straight victory.

    McGrady set up the play by starting to drive from the right wing before finding Padgett above the top of the key.

    Padgett "was wide open, absolutely wide open," McGrady said. "I kind of baited them a little bit like I was going to the hole and the help (defense) stayed on me, so I just kicked it to him. I like to take the big shot, but if I'm double-teamed, I'm going to make the right play."

    Padgett, averaging 2.6 points, didn't hesitate.

    "For (McGrady) to have the faith that one of us can step up and make the play -- that's something on him because he was killing them all night," Padgett said. "Most of the time I'm not the guy that that everybody's saying, 'Hey, he's the guy who should take the shot."

    Houston then made six free throws to close out the game.

    Yao Ming had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds were on the offensive end, including three in the fourth quarter to keep alive key possessions during Houston's comeback. His jump hook completed Houston's surge, tying the game at 71 with 3:40 to go.

    The Hornets regained the lead on Lee Nailon's jumper over McGrady with just over two minutes left, but after Houston rebounded Padgett's missed 3-pointer, McGrady hit a pair of free throws to tie it again with 1:06 to go.

    Dan Dickau led New Orleans with 23 points and a career-high 10 assists. Nailon and P.J. Brown each finished with 17 points. Brown also had 10 rebounds and two blocks. It was the first home loss for the Hornets (7-34) in five games.

    "There is no way we should be on the losing end of this one," Brown said. "We just seemed to break down. You have to play your best basketball in the later part of the game and we did not save our best for last."

    David Wesley's 3-pointer, which tied the game at 55, was Houston's only field goal in the last six minutes of the third period. Soon after, the Hornets used a pair of jumpers by Brown and Dickau to cap a 14-3 run that gave New Orleans the largest lead of the game to that point, 63-55, heading into the final quarter.

    Nailon opened the fourth period with a jumper to make it 65-55. But McGrady led Houston back into the game, hitting on three jumpers and a driving shot high off the glass.

    The teams played close through most of the first half, with the Hornets opening up a 37-32 lead on Dickau's 3-pointer. Houston then surged back ahead with a with a 9-0 run that included back-to-back 3s by McGrady. Brown's jumper in the final minute pulled the Hornets to 41-39 at halftime.

    Game notes

    The game marked the 100th in New Orleans since the team's move from Charlotte, N.C., in 2002. The attendance was 15,249. New Orleans is 59-41 at home since the move. ... The game marked the first trip back to New Orleans -- personally or professionally -- for Wesley, who was traded to Houston on Dec. 27. His wife and children still live here for now. He did not score until making a technical free throw with 1:29 left in the first half and finished with six points. The last time the Hornets had played Houston, Wesley was New Orleans' leading scorer with 18 points. ... Baron Davis, listed as questionable because of a bruised right ankle, did not dress for a fifth straight game. ... Yao has 15 double-doubles this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 77
    FGM-FGA 29-76 (.382) 32-74 (.432)
    3PM-3PA 6-23 (.261) 5-12 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 18-23 (.783) 8-13 (.615)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-42 9-37
    Assists 18 21
    Turnovers 12 17
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 5 4
    Fast Break Points 5 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (2/0) 22 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 6 10

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 33
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 1
    Dan Dickau Dickau
    Points: 23
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0