Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 2/22

Game 1: Tuesday, February 22nd
SuperSonics87Final
Rockets85
Game 2: Tuesday, March 8th
Rockets97Final
SuperSonics95
Game 3: Monday, April 11th
Rockets90Final
SuperSonics78
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th
SuperSonics78Final
Rockets106

Rockets 97

(35-25, 16-13 away)

SuperSonics 95

(41-18, 21-10 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, March 8, 2005

Key Arena, Seattle, WA

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 21 29 22 2597
SEA 33 26 6 3095

Top Performers

Houston: T. McGrady 35 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl

Seattle: R. Allen 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Seattle held to six-point third quarter

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle SuperSonics? More like the Seattle Selfish-Sonics in an awful, ugly third quarter.

Tracy McGrady scored 35 points while Yao Ming had a big fourth period and finished with 22 points, leading the Houston Rockets to a dramatic 97-95 win over Seattle on Tuesday night.

McGrady scored 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the final period and Yao was 4-of-5 from the floor for 10 points in the last 12 minutes. Still, it likely would have been a different game if Seattle could have scored more than six points in the third.

"That was the reason we lost," said Ray Allen, who scored 32.

Houston outscored the Sonics 22-6 in the period -- with those six points setting franchise records for both teams. It was the fewest points the Rockets had ever allowed in a quarter, as well as Seattle's lowest quarter.

"We stopped moving the ball," said Rashard Lewis, who scored 21 of his 26 points by halftime. "Everyone was looking for their own shot in the second half. The coaches were calling plays, but we just weren't moving the ball."

The Rockets improved to 16-2 when McGrady scores at least 30. Mike James added 13 points for Houston, while Jon Barry scored 11 and Juwan Howard had 10.

Luke Ridnour had 14 points and a season-high 12 assists, one off the career high he set last season as a rookie. But the Sonics lost their second straight game after going 6-1 immediately after the All-Star break.

"We had 17 assists in the first half and four in the second," Lewis said. "That pretty much tells the story."

There's no nice way to describe Seattle's third quarter. The Sonics shot 3-of-14 from the floor and committed seven of their 17 turnovers in the period. Houston trailed 59-50 at halftime but led 72-65 going into the fourth.

In the team huddle after the third quarter, frustrated Seattle coach Nate McMillan shattered his clipboard.

"We just stopped moving," McMillan said. "We didn't have any movement with the ball, too many turnovers, not setting screens for each other. ... We played in traffic and didn't do a good job taking care of the ball."

Despite their trouble in the third, the Sonics were in position to win.

It was tied at 88 after Lewis' 3-pointer with 59.8 seconds to go, made possible by an amazing save by Allen after a missed 3-point try and rebound. But McGrady made a 3-pointer with 54.8 seconds to go, putting Houston up 91-88.

Ridnour got Seattle within 91-90 with two free throws with 35.8 seconds to play.

Yao made it 93-90, banking in a 7-footer after a hard bump that sent Jerome James to the floor but didn't draw a whistle. When Seattle won at Houston last month, Yao was called for an offensive foul in almost exactly the same situation.

"Same exact call was a charge in Houston," James said. "Same play, same elbow, the whole thing. That's how it goes."

"In Houston, they called it on me," Yao said. "This time, different side."

Ridnour got free for a layup to got the Sonics back to 93-92 with 16.8 seconds to go. After a Houston timeout, Barry inbounded straight to McGrady. He drew a foul on Lewis and made a layup.

"It just shows the character and poise we have," McGrady said. "Those guys came out hot in the first half. We took more pride in the second half and shut them down in the third quarter."

But he missed the free throw, giving the Sonics a chance to draw even.

Lewis missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it, and James made two free throws at the other end. The Rockets needed the cushion, because Allen added a 3-pointer at the horn.

"We showed a lot of grit, a lot of determination to get back into the game in the third," Barry said. "Tracy was hot tonight and Yao was great down the stretch. It was great to get it done."

Game notes


Sonics guard Antonio Daniels bruised his left quadriceps in a second-quarter collision with Yao. He returned in the third period. ... Houston center Vin Baker, a former All-Star during his time with Seattle, never left the bench. ... Sonics forward Nick Collison, who broke his nose Sunday against Phoenix, wore a face mask -- which he'll need the rest of the season. ... Seattle's previous low quarter was eight points three times, most recently March 12, 2004, at Miami.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
SEA
Points 97 95
FGM-FGA 38-78 (.487) 35-74 (.473)
3PM-3PA 6-15 (.400) 13-25 (.520)
FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 12-14 (.857)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-35 6-35
Assists 21 21
Turnovers 10 17
Steals 14 6
Blocks 2 2
Fast Break Points 16 15
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 21 (0/0)
Largest Lead 7 16

Top Performers

Houston
Seattle
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 35
Reb: 8
Ast: 5
Stl: 4
Blk: 0
Ray Allen Allen
Points: 32
Reb: 7
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0