NBA Game Summary - Detroit at Houston
(Tuesday, December 15th)
Final Score: Houston 107, Detroit 96
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Tracy McGrady saw limited time in his season debut and rookie Chase Budinger recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds in his first career start, part of Houston's 107-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
McGrady, who hadn't played since February 9 due to microfracture surgery on his left knee, came into the game with just under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. He received a standing ovation upon entering the game to replace Budinger.
"It really sent chills to my body, knowing that they appreciate what I've done in the past and that they're glad to see me back on the basketball court," said McGrady. "It felt good."
The only bucket for the seven-time All-Star came on a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 1:33 left in the first quarter. He also missed a pair of free throws and had three rebounds, while playing the final 7:44 of the first quarter. McGrady didn't play the final three quarters.
"I didn't get tired at all, surprisingly," said McGrady. "I thought I would be. I actually could have kept playing."
Aaron Brooks had 23 points and 10 assists for the Rockets, who won for the third time in four games. Luis Scola registered a season-best 23 points to go with eight boards, while Carl Landry came off the bench for 19 points in the win.
Richard Hamilton, playing in just his third game of the season, led the way with 21 points for the Pistons, who had their five-game winning streak snapped. Rodney Stuckey had 17 points, Charlie Villanueva 16 and Jonas Jerebko 15 for Detroit.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman let it be known that McGrady was going to play only a few minutes Tuesday. McGrady's return was helped by the fact that the Rockets were short-handed. Trevor Ariza served his one-game suspension for throwing an elbow at the head of the Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan in the third quarter of Sunday's game.
"We want to run the floor and it's important that he continue to do that," Adelman said of McGrady. "The time he's playing out there, there's no reason not to do that. We're looking for that and how he's defending, if he's moving without the ball. I know he can do things offensively."
McGrady came into the game with the Rockets trailing 10-9, but they later used an 18-4 spurt to end the quarter. Scola had 11 points in the period as the Rockets used precise shooting (12-of-18) to grab a 29-19 lead after 12 minutes.
Brooks started the second with a driving layup and the double-digit lead remained in place until the final moments of the half. Detroit cut what was once a 19-point deficit to nine at the break. One free throw from Ben Wallace had the visitors within 56-47.
Hamilton's jumper moved the Pistons within 72-64 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third, but Budinger's alley-oop jam off a feed from Brooks stemmed the tide.
"Every opportunity we tried to make a run, they made adjustments and pulled away," said Hamilton. "My hamstring was giving me problems, I felt good early, but I hobbled a bit. Everything they did today was expected, lot of movement off the ball, making extra passes, they were unselfish and played together. Aaron had a huge game, he's showing what he can do at this level showing the maturity of a true point guard."
It was 81-68 moving to the fourth, and Houston remained comfortably in front throughout the last period.
Detroit has lost 14 of its last 17 in Houston...The Rockets shot 54.7 percent from the field...Hamilton missed 21 straight games with a right ankle sprain until returning to score 18 in a 104-95 win over Golden State on Saturday...The Pistons, who are just 3-9 on the road, will also visit New Orleans on Wednesday and an improved Oklahoma City club on Friday during their three-game trek...Houston swept the home-and-home season series a year ago.
12/16 00:10:15 ET