Tracy McGrady and his healthy left knee have made the Houston Rockets nearly unbeatable for nearly a month.
McGrady had 24 points and eight assists as the Rockets extended their winning streak to 12 games with a 110-97 win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.
``With Tracy healthy and playing well, they are a tough team to stop,'' Bulls coach Jim Boylan said.
That's for sure. The Rockets were 7-4 when McGrady missed 11 games with a bone bruise, strained tendon and patellar tendinitis in his left knee between Dec. 28 and Jan. 15. Since his return, Houston is 16-1 and improved to 36-20 after a mediocre 20-19 start.
The Rockets' streak is their longest since their championship season of 1993-94. Their only loss since McGrady's return came on Jan. 27, when they fell 97-89 against Utah.
They were ahead by seven early in the fourth quarter before Bobby Jackson scored five straight points for Houston, capped by a nifty off-balance layup and the free throw that followed to make it 84-74. The Rockets cruised from there.
It was Jackson's debut for Houston after he was traded from New Orleans on Thursday.
``Houston got penetration and found guys spotting up at the corners,'' Boylan said. ``It wasn't just one guy, but their entire team.''
In other NBA games, it was: the Los Angeles Lakers 111, Seattle 91; Detroit 116, Phoenix 86; Boston 112, Portland 102; Cleveland 109, Memphis 89; Orlando 112, Sacramento 93; Toronto 115, New York 92; and Dallas 99, Minnesota 83.
At Houston, Tyrus Thomas led the Bulls with 18 points, and Kirk Hinrich had 10 points and 10 assists.
The Bulls got significant playing time from Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes in their first game with Chicago since being traded from Cleveland in the deal that sent Ben Wallace and Joe Smith to the Cavaliers. Cedric Simmons, also acquired in the trade, had two points in about 2 minutes of play.
Lakers 111, SuperSonics 91
At Seattle, Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in just 26 minutes, handed out 10 assists, and picked up his first ejection of the season in Los Angeles' season-high eighth straight win.
The Lakers never trailed while extending their longest streak since rolling off 11 straight late in the 2003-04 season - the last time they reached the NBA finals.
Los Angeles wrapped up a stretch playing 12 of 13 on the road with an 11-2 mark. At 39-17, the Lakers moved ahead of Phoenix for the best record in the West, the second time this season they've led the conference.
Mickael Gelabale led the Sonics with a career-high 21 points.
Pistons 116, Suns 86
Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points in 26 minutes to lead six Detroit players in double figures, and the visiting Pistons embarrassed Shaquille O'Neal and the Phoenix Suns.
Their most one-sided loss of the season left the Suns 1-2 since O'Neal started playing for Phoenix on Wednesday. O'Neal, who turns 36 in two weeks, had seven points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes and was 1-for-8 from the foul line. Amare Stoudemire scored 31 for Phoenix.
Celtics 112, Trail Blazers 102
Paul Pierce scored 30 points and the visiting Celtics rebounded from a slow start to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Celtics trailed by 17 in the first half, but gained control in the second when the Blazers struggled without guard Brandon Roy. The All-Star reserve and last season's Rookie of the Year, left in the third quarter after aggravating a right ankle sprain.
Travis Outlaw led the Blazers with 24 points.
Cavaliers 109, Grizzlies 89
LeBron James scored 25 points and had 11 assists, while all four players acquired in Thursday's blockbuster trade contributed for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers built a 28-point lead midway through the second quarter and coasted to victory. Ben Wallace, who started at power forward, scored 12 points, tying his season high, and had 10 rebounds, while Delonte West, the starter at point guard, scored five points with six assists.
The other two players picked up in the deal, forward Joe Smith (14 points) and guard Wally Szczerbiak (10 points), came off the bench late in the first quarter.
Hakim Warrick scored 21 points for the Grizzlies, who have lost 10 of 11.
Magic 112, Kings 93
Dwight Howard had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Orlando got a huge fourth-quarter effort at home from its reserves.
Brian Cook and Keyon Dooling combined for 20 points in a 22-8 run to start the final period, which Orlando entered ahead 74-68.
Ron Artest led Sacramento with 23 points.
Raptors 115, Knicks 92
Andrea Bargnani had 25 points and Chris Bosh added 17 as Toronto rebounded from a loss to New York two days earlier to give coach Sam Mitchell a victory in his 300th game.
Jamal Crawford, who scored 43 points Friday, finished with 26 on Sunday, including 16 in the first half for the visiting Knicks.
Mavericks 99, Timberwolves 83
Jason Kidd tied his season high with 17 assists in his third game with Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points to lead the visiting Mavericks.
Al Jefferson led Minnesota with 22 points, but the last-place Timberwolves lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 812 Utah Jazz  86%
#2 809 Phoenix Suns  69%
#3 803 Miami Heat  68%
#4 802 Toronto Raptors  65%

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pacers vs. Trail Blazers Pick Are the host Portland Trail Blazers going to cover the spread when they entertain the Indiana Pacers...
Thumbnail Timberwolves vs. Rockets Pick Will the Minnesota Timberwolves reward bettors tonight as an underdog at the Houston Rockets? Tip-off is at...
Thumbnail Magic vs. Cavaliers Pick Is the total set high enough tonight when the Orlando Magic take on the host Cleveland...
Thumbnail 76ers vs. Celtics Pick Can the Philadelphia 76ers pull off the upset tonight when they play at the Boston Celtics? Game time...
Thumbnail Nuggets vs. Clippers Prediction Will the L.A. Clippers hand the Denver Nuggets another ATS loss when the two teams meet at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night?

NBA Team Pages