Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Saturday, November 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 28th
Game 3: Saturday, January 14th
Game 4: Thursday, March 23rd

Rockets 90

(10-17, 7-9 away)

Hornets 92


    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 17 30 25 1890
    NO 26 25 17 2492

    Top Performers

    Hou: T. McGrady 38 Pts, 8 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    NO: C. Paul 11 Pts, 5 Reb, 15 Ast, 1 Stl

    Hornets put six players in double figures, beat Rockets

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets got enough balance throughout their lineup to beat Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets -- barely.

    David West was one of six players in double figures and made a jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining in the Hornets' 92-90 victory Wednesday night.

    "I knew I was going to get that shot. It's a shot I've made before many times," said West, who had 15 points. "I took my time and hit it."

    McGrady scored a season-best 38 and Stromile Swift had season highs with 26 points and 13 rebounds, but the Rockets lost their fourth straight.

    Wesley, who rotated over to defend West's shot, said the Rockets wanted to make the Hornets take a jump shot and not allow the ball inside.

    "I can't see us defending it any differently," Wesley said.

    J.R. Smith led the Hornets with 16, Rasual Butler had 15 -- all in the fourth quarter -- and Desmond Mason scored 13. Speedy Claxton had 14, and rookie Chris Paul scored 11 and added a career-high 15 assists, including on the game-winner by West.

    Butler, averaging just 5.3 points, hit three straight 3-pointers during a 13-1 run that gave the Hornets an 86-77 lead with 4:12 to play. He added another jumper with 2:22 left for a 90-84 advantage.

    "After I hit my first couple of shots, I knew I had it going a little bit," Butler said.

    The Rockets tied it at 90 on two free throws by McGrady with 12 seconds remaining. New Orleans went without a timeout and Paul drove and found West open for his jumper.

    "In the fourth quarter, we really showed our resilience and our confidence in one another," Hornets coach Byron Scott said.

    The Hornets forced the tempo in building a 12-point first-quarter lead and led by as many as 11 with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter.

    McGrady and David Wesley led a run that allowed Houston to cut the margin to 51-47 at halftime.

    McGrady and Swift helped the Rockets open a nine-point lead late in the third, when the Hornets were unable to play their preferred faster pace. New Orleans also missed seven of 10 free throws in the quarter.

    McGrady scored 21 points in the first half against Utah on Tuesday night before leaving at halftime when he learned his fiancee had gone into labor.

    He had 23 in the first half against the Hornets and finished 11-of-25 from the field.

    Game notes

    Smith, just 2-of-19 in New Orleans' previous three games, was 6-of-12 against Houston. ... The Hornets hadn't played in four days. Wednesday night started a stretch of four games in five days. ... A fan made a half-court shot during a timeout in the third quarter to win a car, setting off one of the loudest roars of the night from the crowd. ... Official Joe Forte had a memory lapse in the first half when he called "Charlotte" for delay of game. The Hornets left Charlotte after the 2001-02 season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 92
    FGM-FGA 28-75 (.373) 36-75 (.480)
    3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 6-13 (.462)
    FTM-FTA 27-34 (.794) 14-26 (.538)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-47 5-40
    Assists 14 27
    Turnovers 13 9
    Steals 4 6
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 0 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 24 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 12

    Top Performers

    No/oklahoma City
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 38
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 11
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 15
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0