No McGrady, No Problem?

New coach Rick Adelman hoped to make the Houston Rockets less dependent on Tracy McGrady this season. Luckily for the Rockets, Adelman's plan has worked well over the last week.

After winning back-to-back games without their leading scorer, the Rockets go for their first three-game win streak in more than a month when they host the Golden State Warriors on Monday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Houston -3 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 202 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Houston -3 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Rockets have leaned heavily on McGrady since he joined the club before the 2004-05 season. After another early playoff exit last spring, however, they hired Adelman to implement an offense that would help get more players involved.

With McGrady sidelined the last two games because of tendinitis in his left knee, Adelman's approach has paid dividends. After a four-day layoff surrounding Christmas, Houston (15-15) has shown its depth in wins over Memphis and Toronto.

The Rockets had five players score at least 10 points in a 91-79 victory over the Raptors on Saturday - their fifth straight game with at least that many players in double figures.

"We have been preaching balance," forward Shane Battier told the Rockets' official Web site. "When we have balance, we are a much more difficult team to beat. When we have lopsidedness, we are not so good and so it's good to see different guys touching the ball."

The Rockets had lost their first three games without McGrady this season, and hadn't won back-to-back games without him since March 29-31, 2006. Since 2004-05, they're 13-42 when the two-time NBA scoring champion doesn't play.

Now, though, they're looking for their first three-game win streak since Nov. 24-28.

McGrady's status for Monday's game is still uncertain.

The presence of Yao Ming in the middle has helped Houston overcome McGrady's absence. Yao scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half Saturday despite playing through flu-like symptoms.

"I had some problems breathing," he said. "I felt like I had a lot of fluid in my lungs and in my nose. But I know in the fourth quarter you can't make mistakes. I had seven turnovers and I didn't want to get any more. I just wanted to put the ball in the hoop and get the lead and go home and sleep."

Yao was held to a season-low 10 points in the Rockets' first meeting with the Warriors (18-13) on Nov. 29. Golden State's Baron Davis had 27 points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals to lead the Warriors to a 113-94 home win in that game - their third straight victory over the Rockets.

Davis had 28 points and eight assists Sunday as Golden State beat Denver 105-95 on the road to salvage a split of a home-and-home series. The game was played at a much slower pace than Friday night's matchup, which the Warriors lost 124-120.

"We just played better defense," Davis said. "We scored fewer points, but we gave up less as well. I'd say that if you do that and it comes with a win, it's more important."

The Warriors have been doing plenty of winning lately, going 18-7 since an 0-6 start. They've also gone 10-6 this month to clinch their first winning December since 1992-93, during current coach Don Nelson's first stint with the team.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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