A night after posting a season-high point total, McGrady delivered late, making a 22-foot jump shot with 13.2 seconds left and helping Houston to a 97-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
McGrady scored 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting and had 11 assists after scoring 32 points in an overtime win against the Clippers.
“I love being in that situation,” McGrady said, who missed 10 of his 15 shots. “I was struggling throughout the game but I knew if I got that opportunity I was going to knock it down and I did.”
“You can win games in several ways and tonight was one of those nights where I got my guys involved and they made big shots,” McGrady said.
Portland’s Zach Randolph had 28 points and 14 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season.
Houston led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but Portland slowly whittled away the lead and Randolph’s layup with 35 seconds left pulled the Blazers within 93-91.
After McGrady’s pull-up jumper gave the Rockets a four-point lead, and Derek Anderson came right back with a layup. The Blazers quickly fouled Jim Jackson, who made both his shots, then called a timeout with 7.3 seconds left.
When play resumed, Anderson shot an airball and time ran out on the Blazers, now 4-5.
“We’ve been killing ourselves on mistakes, missed assignments. We know we can’t let guys just catch the ball there in the middle,” Portland center Theo Ratliff said. “They did that all the first half and just dominated the game with that alone.”
The Rockets have won two straight after dropping four of their previous five.
“He’s brought more of his personality to the team the last two games,” Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said of McGrady. “He’s been much more driven. And I thought Yao was much more driven tonight also.”
The Blazers led by as many as eight points early but fell behind when McGrady’s game picked up. The Rockets led 53-50 at the half.
The Rockets went up 77-67 at the close of the third quarter on Tyronn Lue’s 16-foot jumper.
Yao scored 12 of his points in the second half after struggling with foul trouble early. He committed his third foul midway through the second quarter and sat until halftime. He played just 26 minutes in the game.
The Blazers wrapped up their four-game homestand at 2-2.
“We have to figure out something quick,” said Anderson. “We have to take it out of their hands and make someone else beat us. It’s very frustrating, disappointing. Especially when you’re playing hard and not getting any results out of it.”
The Blazers celebrated former Portland great Clyde Drexler’s recent induction into the Hall of Fame with a halftime ceremony. The fans at the Rose Garden gave “The Glide” a lengthy standing ovation.
Drexler played for both the Blazers and the Rockets during his 15-year NBA career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 10. … The Rockets won three of four games against the Blazers last season. … A new banner was unfurled at the Rose Garden featuring the names of the six Hall of Famers with Trail Blazers ties: Drexler, Lenny Wilkens, Neil Johnston, Dr. Jack Ramsay, Bill Walton and Drazen Petrovic.