CHICAGO (AP) -- Tracy McGrady and the Rockets put their
mini-slump to an emphatic end.
McGrady scored 32 points with seven assists in three quarters
and Mike James added 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting to lead Houston
to a 119-89 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
Houston won for the first time since the All-Star break,
snapping a three-game losing streak. Prior to the All-Star break,
they won eight straight.
"This is pretty crucial for us. Coming off a three-game skid,
we definitely wanted to come in here and start this road trip off
right," McGrady said. "I think guys realize we have a crucial
schedule ahead of us."
The resurgent Bulls, in playoff contention for the first time
since 1998, suffered their worst loss of the season.
"I've been saying we've had a good amount of slippage
defensively, as evidenced by the number of teams that have gone
over 100 on us. Hopefully our guys will pay a little more attention
to detail after this," Bulls head coach Scott Skiles said.
Bulls rookie forward Luol Deng sprained his right ankle in the
opening minutes after being fouled by McGrady. Deng is day-to-day
and most likely will get an MRI on Wednesday.
Leading 29-22 late in the first quarter, Houston increased their
lead with a 23-6 run in the first half. James, recently acquired in
a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks, scored nine points in the span.
He hit a 3 with 3.4 seconds left in the first quarter and then had
a steal and a lay-up to start the second quarter.
Jon Barry hit a 3 for Houston to make it 46-28 and Juwan Howard
capped it off with a jumper, giving Houston a 52-28 lead with 5:12
in the second quarter.
McGrady scored 19 points in the half for Houston and James added
16 with Yao Ming on the bench. Yao picked up two early fouls and
only played six minutes in the first half.
"We shot the ball good tonight as a team. We kept them to one
shot, one shot and they were done instead normally they get the
offensive rebound," James said.
Barry finished the game with 13 points for Houston. He was
3-for-4 from 3-point range. James was 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
"Obviously we didn't have enough energy on defense, plus they
were shooting lights out. They compounded it and made it worst,"
Gordon said. "Sometimes when we did try to play good defense they
were knocking down tough shots."
Houston opened the second half by outscoring Chicago 9-1. After
back-to-back baskets by McGrady made it 75-40, Skiles subbed in
five new players, drawing an ovation from the sold out crowd.
Late in the third quarter, Tyson Chandler lost his cool and drew
a technical. He made an obscene gesture in the direction of
official Sean Corbin after being called for a foul.
"It really had nothing to do with the ref. It was more of
frustration for me and my teammates. I'm sorry I took it out on the
ref," Chandler said.
With the Rockets in full control, McGrady sat out the entire
Barry gave Houston their largest lead of the game with a jumper
making it 111-72 with 6:39 left in the game.
Yao finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 11 minutes.
"To be able to get a victory by 30 and rest our guys is real
nice," Barry said. "Yao plays a lot of minutes. He needs to get
on a treadmill. He didn't get a workout in."
The Bulls allowed their most points of the season. ... The
Rockets shot 55.6 percent, the best against a Bulls' opponent this