|Rockets' 19th straight victory overshadows big nights for LeBron James, Celtics|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 March 2008 22:56|
For now, all eyes remain on the Houston Rockets.
Tracy McGrady scored 19 points in less than three quarters and Houston routed cold-shooting New Jersey 91-73 on Monday night for its 19th consecutive victory, matching the third-longest winning streak in league history.
The Rockets won their 10th straight game by double digits, tying an NBA record last reached by the Nets in 2004, and are one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference. Houston hosts the Lakers on Sunday.
Before that, the Rockets can match the second-longest streak in NBA history with a win in Atlanta on Wednesday night. The Milwaukee Bucks won 20 in a row during the 1970-71 season.
``It's impressive, and we keep adding on games,'' point guard Rafer Alston said. ``It's fantastic to have your name mentioned and your team mentioned with some of the best teams, some of the best players to ever play the game. It says a lot about our ballclub.''
There were some other notable feats in the NBA on Monday. James had his seventh triple-double of the season, leading Cleveland to an 88-80 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Also, the Celtics reached 50 wins for the first time in 16 years by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 100-86.
In other games, it was: Orlando 123, Atlanta 112; the Los Angeles Clippers 99, Miami 98; San Antonio 107, Denver 103; and Dallas 108, New York 79.
Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 12 rebounds in Philadelphia, where the Celtics opened with a 15-0 run, won their ninth straight game and reached the 50-win mark for the first time since they finished the 1991-92 season 51-31.
``It doesn't mean a lot. Numbers are numbers,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ``You don't get a trophy for getting 50 wins. I guess it's nice, but it's not what we're playing for.''
James didn't seem impressed, either, after finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the 17th triple-double of his career. He has scored 20 or more points in 41 straight games.
``As an individual, I didn't feel I played particularly well,'' he said. ``If you didn't play well and you have a triple-double, something is wrong. I could have played better.''
No complaints from the Rockets. They have beaten only eight teams with winning records during their streak, but coach Rick Adelman bristled at the notion that their roll is bogus because of all the bad teams they've faced.
``You know what?'' he said. ``Everybody in this league plays the same schedule. If it's that easy, why hasn't somebody else done it? I don't see the problem saying, 'You know? That's pretty remarkable what they've done.'''
Spurs 107, Nuggets 103
At San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 23 points and 18 rebounds, and the Spurs beat Denver in the second meeting between the teams in four days.
Tony Parker added 16 points and Manu Ginobili scored 13 and had a career-high 14 assists for the Spurs.
Allen Iverson led Denver with 28 points despite a broken finger.
Magic 123, Hawks 112
At Orlando, Fla., Dwight Howard had 26 points and 16 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu had the second triple-double of his career with 23 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
Rashard Lewis added 22 points and reserve Keith Bogans had 19 as the Magic went 15-of-28 from behind the arc.
Joe Johnson scored 27 points and Mike Bibby had 23 for Atlanta, which shot 51 percent for the game, including 11-of-17 on 3-pointers, but trailed by 21 at halftime.
Mavericks 108, Knicks 79
At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points in 22 minutes, then was among four starters who got to take the last quarter off as the Mavericks won their second straight and improved to 6-5 since Jason Kidd arrived.
Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, New York's top two scorers, returned to the lineup but it hardly mattered. The Knicks made only one of 13 shots to start the first quarter, then did it again to start the second quarter, setting the tone for their seventh straight loss.
Clippers 99, Heat 98
At Miami, Cuttino Mobley made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left and scored 29 points for Los Angeles, hours after the Heat decided to shut Dwyane Wade down for the season.
Corey Maggette and Al Thornton each had 22 points for the Clippers, who won for just the second time in their last 10 games. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Heat and third in a row at home.
Ricky Davis scored 27 points for Miami. Daequan Cook added a career-high 23.