Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/8

Game 1: Friday, December 8th
Rockets92Final
Bobcats62
Game 2: Saturday, February 10th
Bobcats83Final
Rockets104

Rockets 92

(13-6, 5-5 away)

Bobcats 62

(5-14, 3-7 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, December 8, 2006

    Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 31 21 25 1592
    CHA 17 14 15 1662

    Top Performers

    Houston: T. McGrady 23 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Charlotte: R. Felton 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Rockets hold low-scoring Bobcats to 28 percent shooting

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- One week of smothering, record-setting defense has left Tracy McGrady convinced that's what will carry the Houston Rockets.

    McGrady scored 23 points, Yao Ming added 21 and the Rockets allowed the fewest points in franchise history in a 92-62 victory over Charlotte on Friday night.

    Houston allowed one fewer point than it did a week ago in a win over Cleveland and held the Bobcats to a franchise-worst 28 percent shooting.

    "It's just shows what type of team we can be if we bring that type of approach every night," McGrady said. "You just don't have it offensively some nights. But from a defensive standpoint we can definitely be great night in and night out."

    But the bumbling Bobcats made it easy as McGrady and Yao, who combined to shoot 10-for-40 in a loss to Minnesota on Wednesday night, ended the suspense early.

    McGrady was 6-of-8 in the first quarter to help the Rockets build a 31-17 lead. Yao scored 12 points in the second period, when the Rockets led by as many as 21.

    Houston took a 33-point lead in the third quarter and McGrady and Yao sat out much of the fourth, when the Rockets led by as many as 36.

    "I was praying for one of those games where we didn't have to play the fourth quarter," McGrady said. "I really felt good, offensively and defensively."

    Raymond Felton scored 16 points and was the only player in double figures for the Bobcats, who committed 21 turnovers. Charlotte shattered its previous low point total of 71 set against Indiana in December 2004, during its inaugural season.

    "We can't have one or two guys out there who are busting their behind and the other 12 aren't doing anything," Felton said. "We have to work harder on defense to create our offense. A team like that, when you get down 20 points it's tough to come back."

    Rookie Adam Morrison was the poster boy for Charlotte's offensive woes. He was held to two points on 1-of-11 shooting.

    "That's the worst game I've ever played in my life," said Morrison, who in the past three games has eight points on 3-of-26 shooting. "It's difficult when the fans want me to shoot 23-footers with a guy in my face.

    "But in the same respect it's good the fans are sticking by me. Maybe if I were anywhere else I'd be getting booed."

    But there were some boos for the Bobcats early as they missed 22 of their first 27 shots.

    Morrison missed mid-range and long jumpers. Felton barely hit the iron on consecutive shots. Emeka Okafor and Primoz Brezec missed tip-ins. And that was when the Bobcats even got a shot off -- they had 11 first-half turnovers.

    Charlotte didn't get its sixth field goal of the game until more than 17 minutes had passed, and by then Houston had built a 21-point lead.

    The Bobcats weren't much better trying to contain Yao. Brezec and Okafor each had two fouls less than five minutes into the game.

    "Anytime you get two quick fouls it messes up your flow," Okafor said. "We never gave up. But every time we look at the scoreboard it's 10 points, 20 points, 30 points, 40 points and back to 30 points."

    The Rockets led 52-31 at halftime, with the Bobcats shooting 25 percent -- one point off the worst one-half performance in team history.

    "The only thing you hoped for (the players) was that it would hurry up and get over," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

    The Bobcats were without point guard Brevin Knight (strained left calf), meaning Felton was the only true point guard, and Charlotte could never get going against a team they've had success against.

    "I think when we play energetic defensively we can be pretty good," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We did some good things, but I think injuries had a little bit to do with it."

    Game notes


    The Bobcats' previous worst shooting night was 32 percent against Toronto last season. ... The Bobcats just avoided their worst loss, which is a 32-point defeat at Philadelphia in March 2005. ... Knight said he'll be out until at least Wednesday's game at Cleveland. ... Bobcats G Matt Carroll missed his second straight game with a sprained right elbow. ... The Rockets improved to 8-1 against Eastern Conference teams. Charlotte is 1-7 against the West. ... The Rockets outrebounded an opponent for the 15th time in 19 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    HOU
    CHA
    Points 92 62
    FGM-FGA 37-84 (.440) 23-81 (.284)
    3PM-3PA 4-16 (.250) 2-11 (.182)
    FTM-FTA 14-16 (.875) 14-19 (.737)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-51 14-46
    Assists 17 13
    Turnovers 14 21
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 12 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 36 0

    Top Performers

    Houston
    Charlotte
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 23
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Raymond Felton Felton
    Points: 16
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0