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McGrady's late 3-pointer beats clock, Spurs
Updated: 2004-12-10 14:33

Tracy McGrady scooped up a loose ball and hit a running 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left, helping the Houston Rockets complete a rally from a 10-point deficit in the final minute for an 81-80 win over San Antonio on Thursday night.

Rockets celebrate after Tracy McGrady's game-winner in the final seconds. [Houston Chronicle]

McGrady scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds, including four difficult 3s, to finish with 33 points, eight rebounds and five steals in the biggest last-minute comeback for Houston.

The Rockets have won three straight for the first time this season, and snapped an eight-game losing streak against their I-10 rivals. The Spurs lost their second straight, a night after a tough defeat against Seattle in San Antonio.

This defeat, however, may be much harder for the Spurs to swallow.

With just over a minute left in what seemed to be another ugly home loss, the Rockets were being roundly booed following Bob Sura's airball on a 3-point attempt with Houston trailing 74-64.

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) goes for the basket against Houston Rockets center Yao Ming (11) of China in the first half Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004, in Houston. [AP]

Then, Yao Ming followed McGrady's miss on a layup, Scott Padgett stole an inbounds pass and went in for a dunk and the Rockets were finally within striking distance. McGrady completed a four-point play with 24.3 seconds left to pull Houston within 78-75.

Tim Duncan hit two free throws to give San Antonio an 80-75 lead, but McGrady quickly responded with a leaping, 3-pointer over Bruce Bowen with 11.2 seconds to go.

San Antonio called a timeout, but Devin Brown fumbled away the ball under the basket on the next possession and McGrady stole it away on his way to the game-winning 27-footer.

McGrady was mobbed by teammates near midcourt, while red-and-white confetti poured from the roof. The Spurs watched the celebration then walked off the court in stunned silence.

Yao had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who had no one else score more than five points.

Duncan finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds and Brown had 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs fell apart down the stretch in what was a huge collapse by one of the NBA's best teams.

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