Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/15

Game 1: Tuesday, February 15th
Wizards93Final
Rockets123
Game 2: Wednesday, March 2nd
Rockets98Final
Wizards101

Wizards 93

(30-22, 10-15 away)

Rockets 123

(32-21, 18-10 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:30 PM ET, February 15, 2005

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 T
WSH 30 19 28 1693
HOU 35 27 29 32123

Top Performers

Washington: A. Jamison 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast

Houston: T. McGrady 34 Pts, 6 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

T-Mac, Yao combine for 57 points

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets found the best remedy for their slumping offensive star is the Washington Wizards' defense.

Tracy McGrady had 34 points on 64 percent shooting to lead Houston to its eighth straight win, 123-93 over the Wizards.

He hadn't shot better than 42 percent in the last five games, but was 14-of-22 against the NBA's second- worst defense. Entering the game, Washington was allowing more than 101 points per game.

"I've been kind of struggling the last few games," McGrady said. "I put in some extra time yesterday after practice."

McGrady made all three free throws, went 3-of-9 on 3-pointers and had nine assists.

Yao Ming added 23 points and Juwan Howard and David Wesley had 18 apiece.

The Rockets' streak is their longest since March 1999 and the best active streak in the league. It's also a franchise record for consecutive wins before the All-Star break.

"We've just developed a great chemistry among us," said Houston's Jon Barry. "We've having fun on the offensive end."

Houston never trailed after the first quarter and Washington couldn't get closer than nine in the second half.

"Offensively it was terrific," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

Houston shot 59.5 percent on 50-of-84 shooting for its largest margin of victory this season and the second-highest point total.

The offensive output came a game removed from an 81-80 win over Portland on Sunday where the Rockets shot just 31 percent and squandered a 16-point lead.

"We didn't make them take bad shots," said Washington's Antawn Jamison. "This is a team that's on a roll. You know they're going to play tough defense and if they get it together offensively its going to be a long night."

Washington has lost five straight on the road.

The Rockets also rebounded from a bad 3-point shooting performance, hitting 12-of-24 after going 0-for-11 against the Trail Blazers.

Jamison had 23 points and Jarvis Hayes added 21 for the Wizards.

The Wizards were 35-of-84 for 41.7 percent shooting and were just 27.3 percent on 3s.

The Rockets took a lead they would not relinquish on an 11-0 first-quarter run, erasing a 23-19 deficit to go up 30-23.

Consecutive 3s by Barry stretched the lead to 46-35 with 8:06 remaining in the first half. Houston led 62-49 at halftime.

"You have to give Houston a lot of respect," said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. "They took it to us. They kept pounding it to us."

Gilbert Arenas, who averaged 31 points in the last three games, scored 11 on 3-of-14 shooting.

"Arenas didn't have exactly the same juice he's had," Van Gundy said.

Houston has 19 wins since Wesley joined the team on Dec. 29, the most in the NBA over that stretch. He arrived six days after Barry came to Houston from Atlanta.

"It's not a fluke," McGrady said. "The addition of Wesley and Barry was great for us. It gave us more speed, more shooting on the perimeter and more mental toughness."

Houston's Scott Padgett added 13 points and went 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

^Notes:@ Washington guard Juan Dixon left in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return. "He's in pain," Jordan said. "It seems to be a significant sprain." ... Houston's 35 points in the first quarter tied a season high. ... Houston was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line late in the third quarter, but ended 11-of-13.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WSH
HOU
Points 93 123
FGM-FGA 35-84 (.417) 50-84 (.595)
3PM-3PA 6-22 (.273) 12-24 (.500)
FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 11-13 (.846)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-34 8-43
Assists 22 33
Turnovers 13 13
Steals 9 8
Blocks 5 7
Fast Break Points 6 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 31

Top Performers

Washington
Houston
Antawn Jamison Jamison
Points: 23
Reb: 7
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 34
Reb: 6
Ast: 9
Stl: 2
Blk: 0