Houston blew a 16-point lead but rallied behind Barry, who
scored 11 points in the first 2:57 of the fourth, to snap a
two-game skid and move back to .500 on the road.
With Boston focused on stopping Yao and McGrady in crunch time,
Barry had some open looks and made the most of them. He opened the
fourth with a 20-foot jumper, then knocked down three 3-pointers in
the next two minutes to put the Rockets ahead 78-68 with 9:03 left.
Barry, who went scoreless Sunday night in Miami, added a finger
roll with 2:07 left that Boston coach Doc Rivers called the most
important basket of the game.
"You certainly never think you're going to come down and do
something like that. It's rare I take five shots in a row.
Fortunately, I knocked a couple down. And we needed it," Barry
McGrady scored 16 points, but he didn't attempt a field goal in
the fourth quarter due in part to back trouble he blamed on the
"This cold weather has not been good to me as far as taking it
easy on my back. My back was pretty tight tonight," McGrady said.
With the Celtics down 93-92, Ricky Davis missed a shot for the
first time in the fourth quarter. Houston grabbed the rebound,
forcing Boston to foul McGrady, who hit both free throws to put the
Rockets ahead 95-92 with 17.8 seconds left.
Paul Pierce missed a 3-pointer on Boston's ensuing possession,
and Rod Strickland ended up with the ball after a scramble.
Strickland made two free throws to put Houston up 97-92 with 7.5
seconds left, sealing the win.
Davis, who scored 17 in the final quarter, hit a jumper with
1:13 left to even the score at 90, then hit another basket with 44
seconds remaining to tie it at 92. Davis went 7-of-8 from the field
in the fourth.
"Ricky's hot hand pretty much carried us in the fourth
quarter," Pierce said. "But the key to this game was our
inability to get stops when we needed them."
Boston trailed 47-31 late in the second quarter, then held Yao
scoreless during a 32-10 run to go ahead 63-57 late in the third.
Davis led Boston with 24 points, and Pierce added 22.
The Rockets have won four straight in Boston.
"In the second half we stayed mentally strong when they put
such a push on us at the start of the third," Houston coach Jeff
Van Gundy said. "It was certainly a good one to grind out."
The last Boston home win against the Rockets came on Nov.
22, 2000. ... During one stretch late in the first quarter, the
Rockets had Barry, David Wesley, Juwan Howard, Strickland and
Dikembe Mutombo on the floor at the same time, a quintet with a
total of 67 years of NBA experience. ... Mutombo and Yao are the
first pair of teammates in NBA history that are 7-foot-2 or taller
and have each appeared in multiple All-Star games. Mutombo has made
eight trips to the All-Star game, while Yao has been an All-Star
the past two seasons.
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