Tonight’s attendance of 18,271 marks Houston’s 20th sellout at Toyota Center this season.
Houston won 91-73 to capture its 19th victory in a row (1/29/08-3/10/08), which matches the third longest winning streak in NBA history: 33 by the L.A. Lakers (11/5/71-1/7/1972), 20 by the Milwaukee Bucks (2/6/71-3/8/71) and 19 by the L.A. Lakers (2/4/00-3/13/00).
The Rockets have actually won their last 10 consecutive games by a double-digit margin (2/21/08-3/10/08), which equals the all-time record of 10 by the Washington Capitols in Dec. 1946 and 10 by the New Jersey Nets in Jan.-Feb. 2004.
The Nets scored the opening basket of the game, which marked the first time since the 2005-06 campaign that the Nets have held any kind of lead over the Rockets. New Jersey took a 90-77 win at Houston (3/13/06) in the second meeting that season. Houston then scored the opening points in the next three outings and never trailed in any of those games with New Jersey (12/27/06, 3/9/07 and 12/7/07).
Houston kept New Jersey to just 24-of-79 (.304) from the floor to set the 2007-08 opponent lows for field goals made and field goal percentage. The previous lows were 25 field goals (done twice: last 1/25/08 at Portland) and .313 shooting by the Wizards at Houston (2/26/08). The Rockets also held the Nets to 28 points on .209 (9-43 FG) shooting in the first half to set Houston’s opponent low in field goal percentage for a half, eclipsing the .213 (10-47 FG) mark set by the Wizards in the first half at Houston (2/26/08). Houston also limited New Jersey to an opponent quarter-low .158 (3-19 FG) from the floor in the second stanza, surpassing a .167 mark set by the Hornets in the second quarter at New Orleans (2/22/08).
Tonight was the third time this season that Houston has held an opponent to fewer than 30 points in a half. The Rockets gave up just 29 second-half points to the Trail Blazers at Portland (1/25/08) and limited the Wizards to a franchise-low 23 points in the first half vs. Washington (2/26/08).
New Jersey went 0-for-6 from downtown to become Houston’s third opponent this season to go scoreless from beyond the arc. Minnesota was held 0-for-6 from downtown at Houston (1/11/08) and Atlanta was 0-for-5 from 3-point range at Houston (2/9/08).
Tracy McGrady finished with game-high 19 points and four assists, including a 13-point third quarter.
Rafer Alston had 12 points and three assists, snapping his string of consecutive 20-point outings at three games.
Steve Novak registered a career-high 11 points (4-6 FG, 3-4 3FG), surpassing his 10-point (4-4 FG, 2-2 3FG) outing vs. Utah (1/27/08).
Dikembe Mutombo posted six rebounds and a season-high five blocks. Mutombo has now upped his total to 17 blocked shots (2.43 bpg) over his seven starts for Yao Ming.
With a game-high 10 rebounds tonight, Chuck Hayes picked up his 25th career double-digit rebounding performances and his seventh of this season.
Vince Carter finished with a team-high 13 points and three assists. Carter, who topped the Nets with 32 points at New Jersey (12/7/07), had almost the same number of points in that game as the top three New Jersey scorers from tonight’s outing (35 combined points: Carter-13, Jefferson-12 and Harris-10).