NBA Game Summary - Denver at Houston
(Sunday, March 2nd)
Final Score: Houston 103, Denver 89
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Tracy McGrady scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out six assists as the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to 15, with a 103-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
The streak matches a franchise record, and the feat came on the night before surgery will officially end center Yao Ming's season. The club announced Tuesday that the 7-foot-6 center would miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, and Yao will undergo surgery on the foot on Monday.
That hasn't stopped Houston from continuing its winning ways, though, as the Rockets followed up a 13-0 February with a rout to kick off March. The Rockets have now won three straight without Yao, and their 15-game streak is the longest in the NBA this season. They go for a new record on Wednesday, when they host the Indiana Pacers.
Shane Battier had 20 points, and Luis Scola scored 18 points and grabbed 14 boards for Houston. Rafer Alston added 16 points for the Rockets.
"We knew that we were capable of beating contending teams," said Scola. "It's been a challenge for us in the second half of the year to get back on track and do what we have to do and play the way we needed to play, and that's what we're doing right now."
Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points, and Allen Iverson scored 17 points for the Nuggets, who had won two in a row. Kenyon Martin had 12 points and 10 boards for Denver.
Ahead by nine as the fourth quarter opened, the Rockets pulled away early. An Iverson layup cut the Houston lead to 11 points, but Battier drained a three- pointer to put the Rockets up 85-73.
Eduardo Najera made a jumper to cut the lead to 10 points, but a Carl Landry putback slam and another Battier three gave the Rockets a 90-75 lead with 8:02 remaining, and the home team held on down the stretch for the win.
"That's a very good team," said Nuggets head coach George Karl. "They were impressive in how committed they were to playing defense ... I think 'Melo (Anthony) had a bad game. We didn't get that explosive quarter or matchup we get from him or AI (Iverson)."
The Nuggets opened with an 8-2 push, but Houston rallied, tying the game at 12-12 on a Battier three. The Rockets took a 21-18 lead into the second quarter.
The Rockets closed the first half with a 10-2 run to take momentum into the break. Alston scored six points on the burst, including a floater that gave Houston a 50-40 lead entering the intermission.
Houston opened up a 13-point lead early in the second half, as a McGrady three pushed the Rockets up 57-44 with 10:16 left in the third quarter. The lead reached 17 points in the quarter, but the Nuggets closed the gap to 80-71 entering the fourth quarter.
The Rockets have won 15 straight twice in franchise history, in back-to-back seasons (1992-93 and 1993-94)...Houston has tallied at least 20 assists in every game of the win streak. The Rockets dished out 23 on Sunday...Houston improved to 21-9 at home this season...Denver has lost three of four at Houston.
03/02 23:52:05 ET