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Old 03-22-2009, 07:32 PM   #1
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Angry Rockets stun Spurs to claim division lead

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Rockets stun Spurs to claim division lead

The Houston Rockets have lost Tracy McGrady, traded away their starting point guard and changed their starting lineup 17 times this season.

And with 10 games left, they're the new No. 2 in the Western Conference.

Knocking the Spurs from first place in the Southwest Division for the first time since January, Houston capped a furious fourth-quarter rally when Yao Ming fired a perfect pass to Luis Scola underneath with 11.9 seconds left to stun San Antonio 87-85 on Sunday.

Ron Artest scored 24 as Houston won its fourth straight and headed to Utah with a half-game division lead over the Spurs. Not since Christmas have the Rockets enjoyed at least a share of first place.

``I would say it's been a surprising climb to first,'' Rockets guard Shane Battier said. ``We've had so much ... just melees this year with all the injuries we've had and lineup shuffles and trades. I don't know that too many people thought we would be here today.''

Tim Duncan scored 23 points and Tony Parker had 22 and 12 assists for the Spurs, who had appeared to start pulling away midway through the fourth before the Rockets embarked on a 10-2 run.

Parker tried to put the Spurs back ahead but misfired on a tough 7-footer with 2.9 seconds left. Matt Bonner clanked a 3-pointer off an in-bounds pass with 0.3 seconds on the clock that wouldn't have counted anyway.

Houston executed much better. The jewel came on Scola's game-winner, when Yao stood at the top of the key, raised the ball over his head as though he was going to shoot, then whipped the ball to Scola cutting toward the basket.

Yao said he thought he was going to shoot before seeing Scola at the last second.

``It was my fault,'' Duncan said. ``He popped to the top. I didn't see anybody rotate to him, and I just kind of half rotated to him. Thought he was shooting the ball and turned to block out and it went right by my head. It was just another mental mistake on my part.''

Yao finished with 13 points and eight assists. Scola had 19 points and 17 rebounds, scoring five in the final 30 seconds.

``You got to give Luis credit for being open and cutting to the open area,'' Rockets coach Rick Adelman said.

While the Los Angeles Lakers are poised to claim the top spot in the West - they're the only team in the conference to clinch a postseason spot thus far - slotting the other seven playoff teams figures to go down to the end.

San Antonio had been the second-best in the West for more than two months, though their lead was hardly ever safe. The Spurs, Denver, New Orleans, Portland and Utah are now all within three games of Houston.

The Rockets have made their surge without McGrady, who had season-ending surgery on his left knee nearly a month ago.

Since McGrady's last game on Feb. 9 - when the Rockets were 4 1/2 games back of San Antonio - Houston has won 16 of 20 and now trails only the Lakers in the West. The Rockets play the Jazz on Tuesday before hosting the Lakers on Saturday.


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THIS GAME TICKED ME OFF TO NO END!!!!
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:32 PM   #2
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Angry Re: Rockets stun Spurs to claim division lead

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Old 03-22-2009, 08:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rockets stun Spurs to claim division lead

SPURS POSTGAME AUDIO
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich http://media.mysanantonio.com/audio/...ch20090322.mp3
- Spurs forward Ime Udokahttp://media.mysanantonio.com/audio/...ka20090322.mp3
- Spurs forward/center Kurt Thomas http://media.mysanantonio.com/audio/...as20090322.mp3
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