Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/5

Game 1: Wednesday, January 5th
Suns108Final
Rockets98
Game 2: Friday, March 11th
Rockets127Final
Suns107
Game 3: Sunday, April 3rd
Suns91Final
Rockets78
Game 4: Saturday, April 9th
Rockets98Final
Suns97

Rockets 127

(36-25, 17-13 away)

Suns 107

(47-15, 23-8 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, March 11, 2005

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 29 31 26 41127
PHX 26 34 30 17107

Top Performers

Houston: T. McGrady 38 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

Phoenix: A. Stoudemire 31 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

T-Mac pours in 38 as as visiting Rockets roll

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jon Barry walked around the Houston Rockets' locker room chanting, "Welcome to the machine, welcome to the machine."

The Rockets certainly looked well-oiled Friday night.

Tracy McGrady scored 38 points and Yao Ming had 27 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, helping the Rockets rally from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns 127-107.

"McGrady was terrific, and that performance by Yao was dominating," Barry added.

The victory was the third straight for the Rockets over an elite Western Conference team following wins over Dallas and Seattle in their two previous games.

The loss prevented the Suns (47-15) from becoming the winningest team in the NBA and dropped them one-half game behind the idle San Antonio Spurs (47-14) in the race for home court advantage in the playoffs. Houston is 36-25 and surging.

Houston began the fourth quarter trailing by four points, but with McGrady pumping in jumpers and the 7-foot-6 Yao taking command inside, the Rockets outscored Phoenix 41-17 and finished with their highest point total of the season. Houston shot .565 (13-for-23) in the period, while the Suns, who had been at .492 percent (30-for-61) through three quarters, were only 6-for-26 (.231) in the fourth.

"This is a big win for us," McGrady said. "This is a high-powered offense. And for us to hold them to 17 points in the fourth quarter shows how good a defensive team we can be.

"I've got to tip my hat to the big fella (Yao) tonight. I just hope he continues to play that way. There aren't too many players who can stay with him when he plays that way."

David Wesley contributed 20 points for Houston and Mike James had 14, all in the second half.

"We believe we can go very far (in the playoffs)," James said. "If we're going to win a championship, we've got to beat the best to give us confidence going into the end of the season. And Phoenix was the best in the West."

"I don't think we can play any better defensively than we did at the end of the game," Yao said. "And to have a guy like Tracy McGrady, who's such a great scorer ... when they go out to double-team him, it opens up the middle."

Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 31 points and 10 rebounds, but shot only 2-for-10 in the second half as he was continually frustrated by Yao underneath. Walter McCarty added a season-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers, before fouling out with 3:23 left, and Jim Jackson and Joe Johnson each had 15 points for Phoenix. Steve Nash finished with 10 points and 10 assists.

The Suns' second-leading scorer and No. 1 rebounder, Shawn Marion, was sidelined with a contusion of the left knee.

"I wouldn't say frustrating," Stoudemire said, "but I got a little upset out there. It wasn't quite going our way. It was rough for us."

"Tracy McGrady hit all the big shots," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. (He) did a good job of putting the dagger in when we were struggling. He just didn't miss anything.'

The first half, which ended 60-60, was very fast-paced -- typical for the Suns, but not so typical for the defense-oriented Rockets. It also was a series of spurts and a furious dual between Stoudemire and McGrady. By halftime, Stoudemire, the league's fourth-leading scorer, had 24 points and McGrady, the No. 5 scorer, had 17.< ^Notes@: In their next home game, April 18 against Golden State, the Suns will place their former coach, the late Cotton Fitzsimmons, into their Ring of Honor during halftime ceremonies. ... Houston leads the NBA with seven players with at least 10 years of experience in the NBA -- Vin Baker, Barry, Juwan Howard, Mutombo, Charlie Ward, Clarence Weatherspoon and Wesley. ... The Suns are on target to become the first team since the 1998-99 Sacramento Kings to finish the season with the league's best offense and worst defense. ... Houston has suited up a franchise record 22 players this season. ... This was the Suns' fifth straight sellout and 17th of the season; they had only six sellouts last season. ... Jackson was facing the Rockets for the first time since Houston traded him to New Orleans Dec. 27.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
PHX
Points 127 107
FGM-FGA 45-91 (.495) 36-87 (.414)
3PM-3PA 8-20 (.400) 15-32 (.469)
FTM-FTA 29-35 (.829) 20-28 (.714)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-56 9-38
Assists 24 21
Turnovers 11 12
Steals 6 3
Blocks 7 2
Fast Break Points 20 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 22 14

Top Performers

Houston
Phoenix
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 38
Reb: 9
Ast: 6
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
Points: 31
Reb: 10
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 1