Rockets rip Nets, 91-73, earn 19th straight win

The Baltimore Sun

Tracy McGrady scored 19 points in less than three quarters and the Houston Rockets routed the cold-shooting New Jersey Nets, 91-73, last night for their 19th straight win to match the third-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Houston won by double digits for the 10th straight game, tying an NBA record last set by the Nets in 2004. The Rockets also won their 13th straight at the Toyota Center, the franchise's longest home-court streak since the 1985-86 team won 20 in a row at The Summit.

Most importantly, the Rockets closed within one game of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers play in Houston on Sunday.

Houston can match the second-longest winning streak in NBA history with a victory in Atlanta tomorrow night. The Milwaukee Bucks won 20 in a row during the 1970-71 season.

Celtics 100, 76ers 86 -- Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 12 rebounds to help Boston beat host Philadelphia and win 50 games for the first time in 16 years . Ray Allen scored 21 points and Paul Pierce had 17 in another stellar outing for the Celtics' star trio. The Celtics won their ninth straight and reached the 50-win mark for the first time since they finished the 1991-92 season 51-31. Sam Cassell (Dunbar) went scoreless in his Celtics debut and was whistled for three fouls in his first 3:05. Cassell had not played since spraining his right wrist Feb. 20 with the Clippers.

Magic 123, Hawks 112 -- Dwight Howard had 26 points and 16 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu had the second triple double of his career, and Orlando rolled past visiting Atlanta. Turkoglu had 23 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds as the Magic tied its season-high scoring output. Orlando shot 15-for-28 from three-point range.

Cavaliers 88, Trail Blazers 80 -- LeBron James had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists and recorded his seventh triple double of the season as host Cleveland rallied in the second half to defeat Portland. It was the 17th triple double of James' career.

Clippers 99,Heat 98 -- Cuttino Mobley scored 29 points, including the winning points on two free throws, and Al Thornton and Corey Maggette added 22 each as visiting Los Angeles topped Miami.

Mavericks 108, Knicks 79 -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points in 22 minutes, then was among four starters who got to take the fourth quarter off as Dallas polished off visiting New York.

Spurs 107, Nuggets 103 -- Tim Duncan had 23 points and 18 rebounds as San Antonio beat visiting Denver. Tony Parker added 16 points and Manu Ginobili scored 13 and had a career-high 14 assists for the Spurs.

DIGITS

16

Number of years since the Celtics won 50 games in a season, which they did last night by beating the 76ers

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