Houston (13-14) at Milwaukee (7-16)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Dec 28, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Tracy McGrady may not lead the league in scoring this season, but that’s just fine with him as long as the Houston Rockets keep winning.

McGrady and the Rockets, who have won seven of their last 10, will travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks.

McGrady, who averaged 28 points per game in 2003-04 to lead the league in scoring for the second straight season, is averaging just 23 points this season. But the 6-foot-8 swingman is glad to have more scoring options on his team.

“I’ve had my time leading the league in scoring,” McGrady said with a smile after Sunday’s 96-79 win over the Clippers. “I think the best play I have when they’re double-teaming me is to make it easy on my team and find my guys on the perimeter. I get a kick out of that.”

McGrady had just 21 points in the victory, but he also had nine assists as Jim Jackson matched his season high with 21 points. Houston traded Jackson on Monday to New Orleans for David Wesley.

Wesley averaged 13.9 points and 4.2 assists in 26 games with the Hornets this season. It was the second trade in five days for Houston, which sent Tyronn Lue to Atlanta for Jon Barry on Thursday. Barry spent his first three seasons with the Bucks.

Milwaukee is trying to win consecutive games for just the second time this season after Michael Redd scored 20 of his season-high 39 points in the first quarter of a 99-92 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. Redd, who was 2-of-10 from the floor in a nine-point loss against Portland on Wednesday, made 15 of 27 shots against Chicago as the Bucks snapped a five-game losing streak.

“I always try and look forward to the next game, but I was really determined to come back and have a good game,” said Redd, who made all eight free throws and had eight rebounds. “I was more aggressive than I have been all season. I was focused. I didn’t have one of my better performances the other night against Portland.”

Joe Smith had a season-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds as Milwaukee won for just the second time in its last eight home games. Smith shot 65.4 percent (17-for-26) in the two losses to Houston last season.

Milwaukee opens a four-game road trip Wednesday against Orlando and plays Houston again on Friday.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 26): Rockets - 3rd place, 8 1/2 GB, Southwest Division. Bucks - 5th place, 7 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Rockets - F McGrady, F Juwan Howard, C Yao Ming, G Bob Sura, G Wesley. Bucks - F Desmond Mason, F J.Smith, C Dan Gadzuric, G Redd, G Mo Williams.

TEAM LEADERS: Rockets - McGrady, 23 ppg and 5.6 apg; Yao, 9 rpg. Bucks - Redd, 22.3 ppg; Van Horn and Smith, 8.2 rpg; Williams, 6.4 apg.

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Rockets, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: March 28; Rockets, 111-107 (OT). At Milwaukee, Steve Francis— who was traded to Orlando in the deal that brough McGrady to Houston—finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Rockets rallied from a nine-point deficit with less than five minutes to go in regulation before winning in overtime.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockets - 4-7 on the road; Bucks - 6-7 at home.

INJURIES: Rockets - G Reece Gaines (ankle); F Ryan Bowen (hip); G Andre Barrett (knee). Bucks - F Keith Van Horn (ankle); F Toni Kukoc (hip); G T.J. Ford (neck); C Daniel Santiago (right eye); G Erick Strickland (right knee).

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