NBA Game Summary - Houston at New Jersey
(Saturday, December 26th)
Final Score: Houston 98, New Jersey 93
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Aaron Brooks hit the go-ahead layup with 37.3 seconds remaining and Carl Landry scored half of his game-high 26 points in the final quarter, guiding the Rockets to a 98-93 victory over the lowly Nets, sending New Jersey to its ninth consecutive defeat.
Landry, who also had nine rebounds, shot 9-of-14 from the field, as Houston won for the fourth time in five contests. Trevor Ariza narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 11 boards and eight assists. Brooks and Luis Scola each scored 17 in the triumph.
Devin Harris scored 19 for the Nets, who fell to 2-28 on the season. Brook Lopez ended with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Yi Jianlian also scored 17 in defeat. Keyon Dooling had 11 points and Courtney Lee scored 10.
The Rockets won despite some apparent brewing turmoil regarding guard Tracy McGrady. He left the team prior to Saturday's contest and returned to Houston amid a disagreement regarding playing time. The seven-time all-star was told by team officials he wouldn't be playing in Saturday's contest or in Sunday's game at Cleveland, so the Rockets cleared him to return to Houston to be with his son for his birthday.
McGrady made his season debut on December 15, missing the first part of the season due to microfracture surgery on his left knee. He has reportedly been seeking an increase in minutes from the 7 1/2 he's averaging over his first six games this season, but has been apparently rebuffed by general manager Daryl Morey and head coach Rick Adelman.
Dooling's three-pointer from the right wing tied the game at 91-91 with 1:38 remaining. Brooks then missed a driving layup, and despite an offensive rebound by Landry, the Rockets were denied an opportunity when Yi came up with a steal.
Yi, though, missed a three-ball from the top of the arc with a minute left. Brooks then controlled the ball, and with the shot clock running down, drove from the left baseline to the hoop for the go-ahead bucket.
Dooling's ensuing three-point try from the left corner was off the mark with a half-minute left. Brooks hit four consecutive foul shots and Kyle Lowry went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe in the waning seconds.
Houston went 11-of-14 at the foul line in the final quarter.
"The important part is we're getting to that point where it's a meaningful game, two minutes to go," Harris said. "We're getting stops, but we're a few mistakes away from overturning this thing. You've got to be proud the way guys keep fighting."
After giving up the first two points, Houston went on a 9-0 run and carried a 27-20 lead into the second. The Rockets' edge stood at 57-51 at the half.
The Nets kept the deficit in manageable distance and got within 70-69 moving to the fourth. Harris' jumper moved the hosts to a 79-77 lead, but Houston came back with an ensuing 9-2 spurt and it remained tight until the last minute.
"Whatever their record is, you get guys life and they start getting confidence. We were lucky to get the win at the end," Adelman said. "We turned the ball over too many times down the stretch, something we have to learn, but I'll take the win."
The Nets are 0-3 on a seven-game homestand with upcoming contests against Oklahoma City, New York, Cleveland and Milwaukee...Houston has won seven straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings...New Jersey swingman Chris Douglas- Roberts (ankle) was inactive for a second straight game...This was the start of a fourth consecutive back-to-back set for Houston.
12/26 23:53:22 ET