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NBA Game Summary - New Orleans at Houston

(Tuesday, December 7th)

Final Score: Houston 89, New Orleans 81

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Yao Ming compiled 21 points and nine rebounds, while Tracy McGrady scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, as Houston earned an 89-81 victory over lowly New Orleans at the Toyota Center.

Andre Barrett added 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and made several key baskets in the second-half after the Rockets nearly coughed up a 13-point lead at the break.

"Well, if you�re going to play on a team with those two guys (McGrady and Yao), you�re going to have spot-up shots because people are going to commit two people to them," said Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy. "Certainly the shots (Barrett) made tonight were huge. We were stuck in the mud there for a little bit."

The Rockets won for the second straight time following a five-game slide.

David Wesley recorded 18 points and P.J. Brown finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who fell to 1-15 after their seventh loss in a row. Dan Dickau also had 14 points in the setback, 13 of which came in the final 12 minutes.

"If we only give 70 percent, we�re going to lose games," Hornets head coach Byron Scott remarked. "I was visibly upset with the team at halftime because we weren�t playing hard. (The second half) was probably our best half of basketball (this season)."

The Rockets built an early 20-9 advantage on the strength of an 8-0 run late in the first quarter. Wesley then canned a three-pointer to spark a 7-2 New Orleans flurry which closed the gap to 22-16 at period's end.

Maurice Taylor scored seven consecutive points to push Houston's lead to 31-20 with 7:33 remaining before halftime. The Hornets responded with nine unanswered and cut their deficit to two points on Brown's tip-in at the 4:43 mark of the second quarter.

The Rockets then reeled off 12 straight points, capped by back-to-back threes by Scott Padgett, to go up 43-29 in the final seconds of the half. Dickau then hit one of two free throws with three seconds left to bring the margin to 13 at the break.

New Orleans whittled away at the Rockets' lead in the third quarter and were down by just a single point when Alex Garcia's layup made the score 54-53 with 1:40 to go in the stanza.

"In the third quarter, that was Hornet basketball," said Brown. "We have to maintain that play for a full game."

McGrady then buried a trey on the ensuing possession and netted seven points during a 14-3 spurt which put Houston ahead 68-56 with under nine minutes left.

The Hornets would make another surge, and a three-point play by Dickau followed by Matt Freije's basket got the visitors to within 75-70 with 3:35 left to play. After the teams traded buckets, McGrady sunk consecutive jumpers for an 81-72 lead with under two minutes left and the Rockets kept New Orleans at bay the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Houston outrebounded New Orleans 41-29 and had a 30-20 advantage in points in the paint...Rockets forward Jim Jackson sat out the game with back spasms...Dickau was playing his second contest with the Hornets after being acquired from the Orlando Magic on Friday in exchange for Darrell Armstrong...Houston now leads the all-time series 30-4 and has won seven of the last nine meetings between the clubs, including the last three...According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Hornets majority owner George Shinn has agreed to buy the remaining 35 percent of the franchise from partner Ray Wooldrige for a reported $65 million.

12/08 00:45:11 ET

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