A month into the season, Houston’s Tracy McGrady is still struggling to find his shot. He may have a good chance to find it when he faces Cleveland.
McGrady looks to lead the Rockets to their fifth straight home win for the first time in more than two seasons when they host LeBron James and the Cavaliers at the Toyota Center on Saturday.
Houston (10-5) has won five of its last six games against Cleveland, but had its five-game winning streak over it end with a 104-102 overtime loss on March 26. McGrady missed that game with a back injury.
In six games against Cleveland since James joined the Cavaliers (10-6) in 2003, McGrady is averaging 35.2 points per game. Things have not been going as well for McGrady this season, though, as he has just one 30-point game—he scored a season-high 32 in an 86-80 win over Memphis on Nov. 7.
The six-time All-Star has scored a total of just 31 points in his last two games, and is averaging 18.7 points, nearly six fewer per game than last season.
McGrady had 23 points on 9-for-26 shooting in a 102-91 loss at Phoenix on Wednesday, snapping the Rockets’ four-game winning streak.
The Rockets rallied from a 22-point first-half deficit to take a 74-72 lead on McGrady’s 18-footer with 9:21 to play, but couldn’t stop the Suns’ ensuing 19-5 run. Houston also was outrebounded 55-36.
“They got off to a quick start and I don’t think we were ready for that intensity,” McGrady said. “We made a run at them in the second half but I don’t think we really had enough to really overcome the deficit that we put ourselves in the first half.”
Yao Ming got into early foul trouble and finished with 18 points—almost eight points below his season average—and matched a season low of six rebounds in only 28 minutes.
The Rockets are 6-1 at the Toyota Center, a vast turnaround from a year ago when they were 15-26 at home, tied for the worst home record in the league with New York, Portland and Toronto.
They have not won five straight home games since Feb. 11-27, 2004.
The Cavaliers snapped their three-game road skid with a 106-95 win over Atlanta on Friday.
“We came out tonight with a focus, to try to get a win on the road, and we did that,” said James, who had three 3-point plays during a fourth quarter in which he scored 13 of his 31 points.
“The fourth quarter is the best quarter to me,” said James, who also finished with eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. “It’s when you’ve got to execute. It’s when I need to put my cape on and try to help our team win basketball games. And if I’m going to be the leader of the team, then that’s the quarter I need to be my best.”
James has scored at least 30 points in his last three road games. He recorded an average of 34.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games against the Rockets last season.