Tomjanovich is on a leave of absence while undergoing treatment
for bladder cancer. Assistant coach Larry Smith is directing the
team for Tomjanovich, whose career record now is 500-495.
''Rudy's done a lot for this team, and he deserves it,'' Smith
Wearing replicas of the red uniforms from the 1993-94 season,
when they won the first of two consecutive NBA championships, the
Rockets moved to a half-game of Phoenix for the eighth and
final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns lost 115-113
to the Lakers in overtime.
''We had a different attitude, just because of the jerseys,''
Eddie Griffin said. ''We felt different walking out there with them
on. You could just tell we had a different attitude. We didn't want
to get upset in our jerseys. We just wish we could keep them.''
Orlando lost its fourth in a row despite 28 points for Tracy
McGrady. He scored 24 in the first half and sat out the fourth
''They just outplayed us,'' Magic coach Doc Rivers said. ''They
acted like they're trying to make the playoffs, and we played like
we're already in. That disturbs me, because if we keep fooling
around, we won't make it.''
Orlando is seventh in the Eastern Conference, 1½ games ahead of
The Rockets have a 14-2 record when both Mobley and Francis
score in double figures. Eddie Griffin and James Posey each scored
14 points for the Rockets.
After a good start in the first quarter, the Rockets had to
fight off McGrady to take their 58-48 halftime lead. McGrady played
despite a rib injury.
''I felt pretty good,'' McGrady said. ''I had fresh legs, I had
some pain in my ribs, but it didn't bother me. At times it affected
my shot, but I just played through it.''
Orlando never led in the first half, although McGrady cut
Houston's lead to 41-40 with 6:16 left in the half. Houston
outscored Orlando 17-8 the rest of the quarter.
McGrady cooled off in the third quarter, missing his first four
shots, and the Rockets boosted their lead to 85-65 at the end of
the quarter, led by Yao Ming and Francis with eight points each in
The Rockets scored the game's first 11 points and led 15-4 with
8:42 to go in the first quarter. McGrady kept the Magic in the game
with 12 points in the period.
Orlando clearly wasn't pleased with its play.
''We got down big in the third quarter,'' Pat Garrity said.
''When that happens, you have to make a choice of whether to fight
or not. The choice we made tonight was to pack it up and go home.
Rivers gave McGrady a break in the fourth quarter.
''Tracy looked really good tonight, but there was not enough
effort from the team, and I didn't want to waste him,'' Rivers
added. ''It's disappointing, because we're young, and tonight we
acted like it was time to go home. This is the first night in years
I thought we caved in.''
Yao and Orlando's Drew Gooden are the only rookies who have
averaged 10 points and five rebounds every month this season. ...
Among the coaches who have spent their entire careers with one
team, Tomjanovich is second to Golden State's Al Attles, who has