Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/23

Game 1: Monday, January 23rd
Rockets97Final
Bucks80
Game 2: Wednesday, February 1st
Bucks84Final
Rockets86

Rockets 97

(14-26, 11-13 away)

Bucks 80

(21-19, 11-9 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, January 23, 2006

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 23 25 26 2397
MIL 28 19 24 980

Top Performers

Hou: T. McGrady 41 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Mil: M. Redd 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

Rockets defeat Bucks behind McGrady's 41 points

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy has no idea why Tracy McGrady is so tough on the road.

McGrady scored 41 points, including 14 in a row in the fourth quarter, to lead the Rockets to a 97-80 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

He is averaging 30.7 points in 18 road games -- including 38.0 in the last seven -- and 19.1 points in nine at home.

"You can't explain it," Van Gundy said after his team improved to 11-13 away from Houston. "He's the best road player in the league."

The Bucks trailed 76-75 after Andrew Bogut's basket with 10:58 left in the fourth quarter when McGrady went on his run.

McGrady made two 3-pointers, a driving 10-footer, a turnaround fadeaway and two jump shots to give the Rockets a 90-75 lead with 5:21 left.

"I'm just in a nice rhythm right now," he said. "I'm playing with a great deal of confidence."

Houston stretched the run to 19-0 after a free throw by Lonny Baxter and two jumpers by McGrady. He was pulled with 1:25 left, and the Bucks ended the 9-minute drought with a free throw by Jermaine Jackson.

Milwaukee missed 17 consecutive shots.

"You can deal with some of the jump shots he made, he's been making them all season," Bucks guard Mo Williams said. "But he kept making daggers, a dagger here and a dagger there. At the same time, we were digging ourselves in a hole by not making shots."

In one sequence, McGrady, who was 17-of-32 from the field, drove and dished to David Wesley, who missed a 3 but got the rebound. After Rafer Alston missed another long 3-pointer, Chuck Hayes snagged the rebound and kicked it out to McGrady, who made a 3.

"That's what Houston wanted to do -- keep it close, get to the fourth quarter and have McGrady take over," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "Offensively, it's tough when the ball doesn't go in."

McGrady finished the fourth quarter with 18 points, compared to nine for the Bucks, one more than its franchise record for fewest in a quarter.

"When you score that little in a fourth quarter, it's usually part defense and part just missing some shots," Van Gundy said of the Rockets' defensive effort.

McGrady had 14 points in the first half -- limited by a pesky Bobby Simmons, who forced him into turnovers and missed shots.

"All you can do is contest him," Simmons said. "If you contest his shots, then hopefully he'll miss them."

But McGrady, who had scored 35 and 43 in his previous two games -- both on the road -- since missing five with severe back spasms, began to take control at the start of the third quarter.

"It feels good to be healthy," McGrady said. "It's just a great feeling from where I started out at the beginning of the year with my back injury."

He and Wesley, who finished with 17 points, combined for 14 of the Rockets' first 19 points to start the second half as Houston built a 65-58 lead.

Michael Redd, who finished with 21 points, made it 67-67 while Houston went more than 3 minutes without a basket, but the Bucks never took the lead down the stretch.

Simmons had 13 at halftime but only three the rest of the game.

Houston, last in the Western Conference, won two of three on its three-game trip after a double-overtime victory against Chicago and a two-point loss to Detroit.

Game notes


Houston is 14-13 with McGrady in the lineup and 0-13 without. ... McGrady scored 42 points the last time the Rockets played the Bucks. ... Milwaukee is 1-10 when scoring 89 or fewer. ... After a career-high 22 rebounds on Saturday in a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, Jamaal Magloire grabbed nine rebounds against the Rockets.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
HOU
MIL
Points 97 80
FGM-FGA 39-83 (.470) 27-73 (.370)
3PM-3PA 9-26 (.346) 4-10 (.400)
FTM-FTA 10-11 (.909) 22-31 (.710)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-48 9-40
Assists 18 17
Turnovers 13 14
Steals 6 9
Blocks 2 5
Fast Break Points 9 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/1) 18 (1/0)
Largest Lead 20 8

Top Performers

Houston
Milwaukee
Tracy McGrady McGrady
Points: 41
Reb: 8
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Michael Redd Redd
Points: 21
Reb: 5
Ast: 6
Stl: 2
Blk: 0