If Yao Ming was looking to get accustomed to intense road games again on the Rockets’ road trip, he certainly succeeded with their game on Sunday.
A couple of days after getting upset in Atlanta, I was afraid it could happen again in Orlando…and it almost happened.
The Rockets had a comfortable lead cut to only two points late in the fourth quarter when they couldn’t score for about five minutes of play, but Luther Head hit a big three-pointer off a T-Mac assist, and then T-Mac hit a big jumper himself with about 30 seconds remaining to help hold off the Magic 97-93.
McGrady scored 34 points, which included 15-of-18 free throws, 3-of-6 three-pointers, and 6 assists. Rafer Alston continued to shoot unbelievably from behind the arc, hitting 5-of-9 from downtown for 20 points.
Luther Head scored 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 treys. And Shane Battier hit 3-of-6 three-pointers (5-of-10 overall) for 14 points.
When you add it all up, the Rockets shot an amazing 14-of-27 from three-point land, and all four of the aforementioned players shot 24-of-49 field goals, almost 50%. But the Rockets shot 43.2% as a team. So which players dragged that shooting percentage down?
Well, Bonzi Wells only made 3-of-11 shots (and 3-of-6 free throws to boot) and former Magic forward Juwan Howard was 0-for-4.
But it didn’t matter as the Rockets got out of O-town with a W, then jumped on a plane headed to Houston for a back-to-back against the 13-42 Celtics, a sure win that even a paranoid fan like me can’t create fear about.