Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/17

Game 1: Thursday, November 17th
Game 2: Sunday, March 12th
Game 3: Saturday, March 18th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 19th

Rockets 80

(3-5, 2-3 away)

Spurs 86

(7-2, 4-0 home)

8:30 PM ET, November 17, 2005

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 12 24 16 2880
SA 21 28 21 1686

Top Performers

Hou: T. McGrady 27 Pts, 12 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

SA: T. Duncan 19 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Blk

Spurs dominate in paint, hold off late Rockets rally

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Needing a score to hold off the late-surging Houston Rockets, Robert Horry came through once again with a clutch, 3-pointer for the San Antonio Spurs.

"I'm just happy we got a win," said Horry, who had 16 points in the Spurs' 86-80 victory Thursday night.

Tracy McGrady led Houston with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds, but was held to 0-7 shooting in the first half. Yao Ming had 19 points, but just one in the second half.

Tim Duncan had 19 points and nine rebounds and Manu Ginobili had 15 points and four steals. San Antonio, which shot 46 percent compared to Houston's 38.9 percent, dominated on defense and inside, scoring 52 points in the paint in a game that seemed as if the Spurs would cruise to victory.

After Juwan Howard's layup cut Houston's deficit to 64-52 with 2:58 left in the third quarter, San Antonio scored the next eight points to stretch their lead to 20 points. Horry scored the last six points of the run, capped by a pair of free throws for a 72-52 lead with 11:19 remaining in the game.

However, the Rockets scored six straight points to make it 72-58 on David Wesley's jumper with 9:43 left. McGrady began to score rapidly late, including two jumpers and a free throw that cut the lead to six with 2:24 to go.

"We just have to make sure that we don't make mistakes in the fourth quarter like we did tonight," said Tony Parker, who had 17 points for the Spurs.

McGrady seemed on track to possibly repeat his heroics from last Dec. 9 when he scored nine-points in the final 35 seconds against the Spurs, including a last-second three, that gave the Rockets an improbable 81-80 win at home.

McGrady "scares me from the time I get up in the morning until the game ends," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's done it game after game after game. ... He's like a Robert (Horry) in that he's a pro. He's confident. He single-handedly brought them back."

McGrady credited the Spurs' Bruce Bowen, who guarded him most of the night, in helping stop the surge.

"Facing a guy like Bruce Bowen, you just have to try to block everything out and concentrate on the moment," McGrady said. "That's a tough night of work. He's one of the premier defenders in this league and on a fresh night, he's going to make your night miserable."

And despite Houston's efforts, it was Ginobili's pair of free throws and Parker responded with four free throws of his own down the stretch that iced the win.

It was the Spurs defense that Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy credited for ending his team's five-game road trip on a sour note.

"They are just better than us right now," he said. "There are some things we need to do better to get to that level they are at right now....They just dominated us going to the basket tonight. They drove by us at will and pick and rolled us to death."

Game notes

Brent Barry (low back sprain) and Michael Finley (left groin tightness) were inactive for the Spurs and Lonny Baxter, Dion Glover (right knee) and Bob Sura (right knee) were on the inactive list for the Rockets. ... Duncan leads the league in double-doubles with seven. ... The Spurs have won 16 straight at home against the Rockets. Houston's last victory at San Antonio came April 20, 1997. ... The Spurs activated Alex Scales before the game but he did not play.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 80 86
FGM-FGA 28-72 (.389) 35-76 (.461)
3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 3-11 (.273)
FTM-FTA 17-22 (.773) 13-18 (.722)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-40 9-35
Assists 12 23
Turnovers 17 12
Steals 6 8
Blocks 2 5
Fast Break Points 1 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
Largest Lead 0 20

Top Performers

San Antonio
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 27
Reb: 12
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Tim Duncan Duncan
Points: 19
Reb: 9
Ast: 4
Stl: 0
Blk: 2