Led by 25 points from McGrady, the Houston Rockets scored a season-high 22 fast-break points in a 99-80 win over Utah on Wednesday night.
“That’s the kind of basketball I like to play, to get out and run on transition and forget about plays,” McGrady said. “We’re a faster team now. We’re not so much walking the ball up the floor. We’re pushing the ball.
“Tonight we were spreading the ball out on the perimeter and opening up great shots for me. I’m having a lot of fun and we can’t stop now.”
Bob Sura tied season-highs with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, helping Houston to its third straight victory and its 10th win in 14 games.
“We definitely need a third scorer to step up, other than Tracy and Yao,” Sura said. “Tonight it was me. The big thing was our defense and our transition game.”
Gordon Giricek had 15 points to lead five double-figure scorers for the Jazz, who lost their fifth straight. Utah coach Jerry Sloan was impressed by Sura but unhappy with his team’s effort.
“Sura played a terrific game,” Sloan said. “To get 10 rebounds as a guard is something. We stood around and watched the ball bounce two or three times and then said, ‘Whoops, we should get that.”’
Matt Harpring had 12 points and three rebounds for Utah (11-20), which is in last place in the Northwest Division.
“I’ve never been in this situation, in a losing streak like this,” Harpring said. “You’ve got to be mentally tough and fight through it. But tonight, I didn’t do a good job. I need to fight more.”
After six lead changes and seven ties in the first quarter, Houston went on an 8-0 run at the end of the period to finish with a 26-23 lead. McGrady had 10, including a 3 at the buzzer.
Utah scored the first seven points of the second quarter, but Sura brought the Rockets back by scoring seven points in a 9-2 run to take a 35-32 lead.
Giricek scored 11 in the first half to stake the Jazz to a 46-44 halftime lead.
The win put Houston over the .500 mark (16-15) for only the second time this season. The first was at 3-2 on Nov. 9.
Maurice Taylor and Curtis Borchardt each were assessed a technical foul with 10:53 left in the game, after they pushed each other. Taylor was ejected because it was his second technical. … The Rockets placed forward Clarence Weatherspoon on the injured list with a right calf strain and activated guard Andre Barrett and forward Ryan Bowen Sunday off of IR. … The Jazz are 3-14 since Andrei Kirilenko went on the injured list.