The Rockets showed a national television audience Wednesday night that they are for real. They outplayed the defending World Champs Miami Heat to impress ESPN announcer Bill Walton so much in a 112-102 victory, they haven’t had that much love thrown their way in years.
The Rockets put on a clinic in the first half to take a 63-48 lead, the most number of points they had in the first half this season. They hit 52.2% of their shots, including 6-of-14 three-pointers. Rafer Alston was a big part of that, filling it up with 4-of-6 treys for 12 point. And Houston had 17 assists compared to Miami’s 8 in the first half.
Everything went their way. T-Mac shot an airball only to have it rebounded by a teammate for a basket, giving McGrady an assist. He made a shot from the baseline that banked off the glass accidentally.
There was no drop-off in the second half, with the Rockets finishing with 50.6% shooting. They shot even better from behind the arc, making 9-of-16 three-pointers.
McGrady scored 15 points in the second half to finish with 32 on 12-of-24 shooting. He also dished out 8 assists, many coming off beautiful laser-like passes. In the fourth quarter, he hit two three-pointers to hold off the Heat, as did Shane Battier (12 points) and Luther Head (10 points).
Bonzi Wells played one of his best games of the season, scoring an efficient 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Alston had one of his best games, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-10 three-pointers and only two assists.
Sadly, Dwyane Wade separated his shoulder in the fourth quarter. I had never seen him in such pain, and was pretty bummed since I love the guy for what he did against Dallas last season, but also because they head to Dallas and play the Mavericks on Thursday, and I wanted him to take over and beat them again. Now the Heat have no chance.