Rockets Struggle From Line, Beat Pistons

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 8:31 am
By: News On 6

The Houston Rockets had a terrible time at the free-throw line. Good thing for them, the Detroit Pistons seemed to miss from everywhere else.

The Rockets made five of their last seven free throws after an awful start and took advantage of Detroit's poor shooting across the board to beat the Pistons 80-77 Wednesday night.

Houston missed 14 of its first 15 shots from the line and finished one errant attempt shy of matching Orlando _ 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) at New Jersey on Dec. 12, 1994 _ for the third-worst mark in NBA history.

``It's mental. It's just you and the basket,'' said Tracy McGrady, who missed all five of his attempts. ``And the fans definitely don't make it easy on you. Every time you miss, (they say), 'Awwww!' 'Awwww!' That's the worst thing you can do to a player _ especially at home.''

McGrady scored 29 points and Yao Ming added 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the Rockets win for the third time in seven games.

``I've never seen a night like that, where we miss so many free throws _ and won the ballgame,'' McGrady said.

In other NBA games, it was: Indiana 117, Chicago 102; Toronto 92, Dallas 76; Philadelphia 98, Minnesota 94; Charlotte 108, the Los Angeles Clippers 103; Boston 90, Sacramento 78; Seattle 117, New York 110; Milwaukee 100, Orlando 86; Denver 105, New Orleans 99; Portland 105, Golden State 95; and Phoenix 103, Utah 98.

Bonzi Wells went 2-for-9 from the free-throw line. Luther Head went 1-for-2. Even Yao, an 88-percent shooter from the line, was off, going 3-for-6.

``Oh, man. We can lose a game because of that,'' Yao said. ``Tomorrow, I'm going to come here and shoot at least 100 free throws. It's almost like you give away free points and give away a game.''

Toronto holds the mark, missing all three of its attempts against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 9, 1996, and the Rockets' 3-for-14 performance (21.4 percent) against Portland on Feb. 22, 1983, is second.

Houston was able to overcome its bad free-throw shooting because the Pistons seemed to miss from everywhere else. Detroit shot 36 percent (30-for-83) from the field, including 4-for-15 on 3-pointers, and 13-for-22 from the line.

Rasheed Wallace scored 21, Chauncey Billups added 15 and Richard Hamilton had 14 for Detroit, which won seven of its previous eight by an average of 20 points.

``We did one good thing,'' Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. ``We defended very well at the free-throw line.''

Pacers 117, Bulls 102

Kareem Rush scored 22 points to lead Indiana in a game that featured five technical fouls and two ejections. Jamaal Tinsley added 18 points and eight assists for the Pacers in their first home game since he was shot at, but unhurt, early Sunday morning in downtown Indianapolis.

Ben Gordon led Chicago with 18 points, but he shot just 7-for-21 from the field.

Celtics 90, Kings 78

Rookie Glen Davis had 16 points and nine rebounds, and made all 10 of his free throws in his first start to help host Boston improve to an NBA-best 18-2. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points, Ray Allen had 15 and Kevin Garnett added 11.

Ron Artest scored 16 points to lead Sacramento, which was playing its fourth straight game without injured leading scorer Kevin Martin.

SuperSonics 117, Knicks 110

Kevin Durant scored 30 points, fellow rookie Jeff Green added 17, and Seattle shot a season-best 58 percent (47-for-81) to snap a five-game road skid.

Jamal Crawford scored 29 points, and Zach Randolph added 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost their fourth straight.

76ers 98, Timberwolves 94

Samuel Dalembert had 18 points, 11 rebounds and tied a career high with nine blocked shots, and Andre Iguodala scored 25 points for host Philadelphia.

Al Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who fell to an NBA-worst 3-17 and lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Bucks 100, Magic 86

Michael Redd had 27 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to help host Milwaukee snap a four-game losing streak.

Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 19th double-double, Rashard Lewis had 20 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Magic.

Raptors 92, Mavericks 76

Kris Humphries had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Bosh scored 17 points to help Toronto beat visiting Dallas for the first time in more than four years.

Jason Terry had 21 points for Dallas, and Josh Howard added 19.

Bobcats 108, Clippers 103

Raymond Felton scored 26 points and keyed a fourth-quarter surge for host Charlotte, which won for the second time in 10 games.

Emeka Okafor added 25 points and 16 rebounds and Gerald Wallace scored 25 points for Charlotte.

Corey Maggette scored 23 points and Chris Kaman had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers.

Trail Blazers 105, Warriors 95

Travis Outlaw had 22 points and eight rebounds to help host Portland win its fifth straight.

James Jones scored 21 points, Brandon Roy had 21 points and seven assists, and Joel Przybilla added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Trail Blazers.

Baron Davis had 23 points and 11 assists for Golden State.

Nuggets 105, Hornets 99

Carmelo Anthony had 32 points, including a three-point play with 38.4 seconds left, for host Denver. Allen Iverson had 22 points and 11 assists and Marcus Camby had 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.

Chris Paul had 30 points and 12 assists and David West scored 25 for New Orleans.

Suns 103, Jazz 98

Playing half the game with a chipped front tooth, Steve Nash had 29 points and 11 assists to help host Phoenix snap a two-game skid. Shawn Marion added 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Suns.

Carlos Boozer led Utah with 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Millsap added 20 points with 13 rebounds.