Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/9

Game 1: Wednesday, February 9th
Game 2: Tuesday, March 1st

Bulls 92

(23-23, 8-13 away)

Rockets 105

(29-21, 16-10 home)

Coverage: WCIU

7:30 PM ET, February 9, 2005

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 29 14 22 2792
HOU 28 23 25 29105

Top Performers

Chi: T. Chandler 12 Pts, 20 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

Hou: T. McGrady 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Houston wins fourth straight vs. Chicago

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets are playing so well offensively that even one of the league's best defenses was no match.

Tracy McGrady scored 24 points, Yao Ming added 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Rockets won their season-high fifth straight with a 105-92 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Entering the game, Chicago led the league in field-goal percentage on defense (41 percent) and was fifth in points allowed per game (92.5).

The Rockets shot 50 percent and coasted to their fourth-straight 100-point game.

"The offense is definitely clicking," McGrady said. "We've been doing a great job of sharing the ball, executing our offense, making the right plays for the team and limiting our turnovers."

Houston has won four straight against the Bulls.

"It makes our job a lot easier when guys get rolling," Sura said. "Our offense is going so smoothly."

Chicago got within 86-77 after a basket by Ben Gordon with 7:45 remaining, but that's the closest the Bulls would get.

The Rockets went on an 11-0 run in the next two minutes to stretch the lead to 97-77, their biggest of the game.

"I see 50 percent and 105 points and its easy to say we struggled defensively," said Bulls coach Scott Skiles. "Houston came out and executed and made plays, and that was the game."

Chicago, which entered the game averaging 44 percent from the field, shot just 37 percent. It's the first time in nine games that Houston has held an opponent to under 40 percent shooting.

Chicago got 16 points from Kirk Hinrich and Tyson Chandler added 12 points and had 20 rebounds.

A night after scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a win over Dallas, Luol Deng managed just seven points and three boards.

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy credited David Wesley with sparking Houston's defensive effort.

"I'm trying to devise a defense where Wesley can guard everybody on the perimeter," Van Gundy said. "If I come up with that I know we'll be good defensively. He set a great tone for us defensively."

McGrady was just 7-of-17 from the field, but was 9-of-12 from the line and had nine assists.

Wesley scored 13, Juwan Howard had 12 and Sura added 10 for the Rockets.

The Rockets trailed 29-28 after the first quarter, but outscored Chicago 15-0 in the first 6 minutes of the second, fueled by 3-pointers by Wesley and Jon Barry. It was a lead the Rockets would not relinquish.

"I thought we had no problem on offense," Yao said. "But to let them score 29 points in the first quarter, that's pretty bad. We definitely need to be better on defense and rebounding the ball."

^Notes:@ Rockets backup guard Rod Strickland left the game in the second quarter with a strained left quad and did not return. ...Houston forward Maurice Taylor, who's been on the injured list since Jan. 18, was not in his usual spot on the bench for Wednesday night's game. Taylor was initially placed on the list with the flu but remains there with plantar facitis. He was averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 38 games, including 16 starts. ... Chicago's point total was its lowest in 10 games. ... Chandler became the first Rockets opponent to grab 20 rebounds since Kevin Willis did it on April 10, 2001.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 92 105
FGM-FGA 35-95 (.368) 41-82 (.500)
3PM-3PA 9-26 (.346) 6-15 (.400)
FTM-FTA 13-21 (.619) 17-25 (.680)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-51 13-51
Assists 21 29
Turnovers 16 11
Steals 7 6
Blocks 5 5
Fast Break Points 16 14
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (2/0)
Largest Lead 4 20

Top Performers

Tyson Chandler Chandler
Points: 12
Reb: 20
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 3
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 24
Reb: 5
Ast: 9
Stl: 2
Blk: 1