NBA Game Summary - Houston at Dallas
(Thursday, March 6th)
Final Score: Houston 113, Dallas 98
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Tracy McGrady scored 31 points and doled out nine assists as the Houston Rockets ran their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games with a 113-98 rout of the shorthanded Dallas Mavericks.
Rafer Alston scored a season-high 24 points for the Rockets, who rolled to their 11th straight road win despite missing All-Star center Yao Ming. The Rockets are 5-0 since a stress fracture in his left foot ended Yao's season.
Carl Landry added 17 points off the bench for Houston, which has won 21 of 22. The 17-game win streak is tied for seventh-best in NBA history.
Josh Howard scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Mavericks, who saw their 12-game home winning streak come to an end. Dallas played without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was suspended by the league for one game for his flagrant foul on Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko on Monday night.
"We definitely missed him," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "But no excuses for our performance tonight. We just had an awful, awful third quarter. They were the aggressors. We talked about going out and being the aggressor. We went through a couple of different ways to do it and it just didn't happen."
Jason Terry scored 17 points for Dallas, which dropped its third straight, and saw its six-game win streak over Houston come to an end. The Mavs had won 10 of 11 against their division rivals.
Jason Kidd had seven points, six assists, and six rebounds for the Mavericks, who are a pedestrian 4-5 since Kidd joined their lineup. Dallas hosts Kidd's former employers, the Nets, on Saturday in the first meeting of the teams since New Jersey dealt Kidd to Dallas for Devin Harris and others on February 19.
The Rockets pulled away in the third quarter. McGrady broke up a 55-55 tie with a jumper at the 9:50 mark, kicking off a 13-3 stretch. Alston scored six points on the run, which he closed with consecutive baskets, boosting Houston to a 68-58 lead with 6:50 left.
The Rockets lead stood at 10 with three minutes left in the quarter, but Alston sank a three with 2:36 remaining, spurring a quick 9-2 push, and the Houston lead reached 85-68.
Houston led 85-70 entering the fourth quarter, and the Mavs could not threaten down the stretch. Houston's lead reached 22 late in the fourth on the way to the win.
"We all believe, man," McGrady said. "When you've got a roster full of guys that really believe in themselves, great chemistry amongst the team, and we go out and play extremely hard every night - I'm not surprised."
At 41-20, the Rockets are just a half-game behind New Orleans in the Southwest Division. With the win the Rockets kept pace with the Spurs, who also won Thursday for their 11th straight victory. Houston trails San Antonio by 2 1/2 games for first place in both the division and the conference.
The Rockets host the Hornets on Saturday.
The Mavs, meanwhile, are heading in the opposite direction. Their loss dropped their hold on seventh place in the West to one game over idle Golden State. Denver is a game behind the Warriors, currently on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff picture.
McGrady scored nine points in the first quarter, and Houston led 25-24 entering the second. The intra-state rivals played neck-and-neck through the second quarter, and the Rockets led 52-50 at the half.
The Rockets' win streak is knotted with five others for seventh-longest in league history. Three teams are tied at fourth, with 18-game streaks, and the 1999-2000 Lakers' 19-game streak is alone in third. The 1970-71 Bucks won 20 straight, and the 1971-72 Lakers top the list with their 33-game streak...Houston started the season 8-11 away from home before winning its last 11 to improve their road mark to 19-11 on the season...The Mavericks' loss at home was their first in 2008. Dallas' last loss at American Airlines Center was an 88-81 setback on December 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers...The Rockets have won their last eight in a row by 10 points or more. The NBA record is 10 straight games, set by a number of teams. It was last done by the Nets in 2003.
03/07 01:28:51 ET