Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/26

Game 1: Saturday, December 26th
Game 2: Saturday, March 13th

Rockets 98

(18-12, 10-8 away)

Nets 93

(2-28, 1-12 home)

    Coverage: YES

    7:30 PM ET, December 26, 2009

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 27 30 13 2898
    NJ 20 31 18 2493

    Top Performers

    Hou: C. Landry 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast

    NJ: B. Lopez 17 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Landry scores 26 off bench as Rockets hand Nets 9th straight loss

    Associated Press

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While Tracy McGrady's role with the team remained in question, the Houston Rockets kept right on rolling without him.

    Reserve Carl Landry scored 26 points to lead the Rockets to a 98-93 victory Saturday night over New Jersey, sending the Nets to their ninth straight loss.

    Fast Facts

    • Carl Landry had 26 points and nine rebounds off the bench, his 14th 20-plus point game off the bench as the Rockets won for the seventh straight time against the Nets.

    • Trevor Ariza, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds, recorded his third double-double and was two assists short of a triple-double in the win.

    • The Nets' 2-28 mark is tied for the worst start through 30 games in NBA history.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    The win capped a tumultuous day for the Rockets in which McGrady, a two-time NBA scoring champion, left the team to return to Houston. He will not play Sunday when the Rockets travel to Cleveland.

    McGrady has been unhappy with his diminished role. He has appeared in six games this season following microfracture surgery on the left knee in February, averaging only 3.2 points a game in the comeback.

    According to the Houston Chronicle, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the team would wait until it returned to Houston after the weekend back-to-back games to consider any changes to the rotation.

    The Rockets are a resilient bunch, having overcome the major injuries to McGrady and Yao Ming, who underwent left foot surgery that has sidelined him all season.

    "It is not about height or size," Landry said. "It's about heart, courage and toughness."

    The Rockets needed a determined effort to hold off the Nets, who hung tough before falling to 2-28.

    "It wasn't pretty but we'll take the win," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "The Nets are professionals, they have really good players. We had the lead to pull away and we just didn't do it."

    Houston needed some last-minute clutch baskets -- and some Net misses -- to pull out the win.

    Aaron Brooks made a tiebreaking layup with 37 seconds left and scored 17 points, as did Luis Scola. Trevor Ariza added 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Rockets won for the fourth time in five games.

    Houston beat New Jersey for the seventh straight time.

    Devin Harris led the Nets with 19 points, while Yi Jianlian and Brook Lopez each had 17.

    "You try to learn a lesson from these close ones," Harris said. "We're just a few shots away. It was still a meaningful game with 2 minutes to go. We've got to be proud of the way guys keep fighting."

    The Rockets led 70-69 after three quarters as the Nets, who had trailed by as many as 11, hung in gamely, getting a boost from rookie Terrence Williams.

    Yi made the first basket of the final period, giving the Nets their first lead since the game's opening basket when he banked a shot off the glass for a one-point advantage.

    That set the stage for a back-and-fourth final quarter until Landry took charge, putting Houston up by two on a pair of free throws followed by a driving dunk.

    The Nets countered with consecutive baskets by Lopez to cut the Rockets' lead to 86-85. Both teams missed layups before Ariza hit a jumper to give Houston a three-point margin.

    Keyon Dooling made a 3-pointer with 1:38 to even the score at 91. After Landry turned the ball over, the Nets could not grab the lead when Yi missed a wide-open jumper. Brooks then made his driving layup, giving the Rockets a 93-91 edge.

    Game notes

    Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe is 2-10 since also becoming coach after Lawrence Frank was fired. ... The Rockets avoided their second two-game losing streak. ... Yi was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim with 2:26 remaining. ... Lopez tallied his 17th double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds. He also had a season-high three steals. ... Houston has won seven in a row in New Jersey. They last lost here on March 31, 2003. ... Landry finished one point shy of his career high.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 98 93
    FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 38-81 (.469)
    3PM-3PA 8-19 (.421) 4-16 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 22-32 (.688) 13-17 (.765)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-51 6-39
    Assists 25 22
    Turnovers 10 8
    Steals 4 6
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 13 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 11 2

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Carl Landry Landry
    Points: 26
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Brook Lopez Lopez
    Points: 17
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3