listless last month in Texas. That game, a 113-82 defeat, featured
perhaps Minnesota’s worst defense of the season.
This time the Wolves played much better defense, but
the Rockets had an option they didn’t have in the previous meeting -
In a testament to how far the Wolves have come in those three short
weeks, it took some heroics by McGrady — including an off-balance
three-pointer with 30.8 seconds left with Rashad McCants draped all
over him — for the Rockets to escape with a 92-86 victory.
"This is a game we should have won," said Al Jefferson, who scored 33
points and grabbed 16 rebounds. "(McGrady hit) a big-time three when
Rashad (McCants) played great defense on him. We got blown out by 30
last time against Houston, without T-Mac. We were playing like garbage
then. We’re playing well now. We lost tonight, but we don’t have
anything to hang our heads about."
Thanks in part to Sebastian Telfair’s 12 assists and no turnovers, the
Wolves almost pulled it off, coming back from a 80-71 deficit with 5:22
remaining to take a 86-85 lead on Jefferson’s tip-in with just 1:38 to
go. Big Al then blocked his third shot to get Minnesota the ball back,
but Ryan Gomes was whistled for a travel when attempting to get the
ball to Telfair.
Enter T-Mac, who first nailed a 17-footer before pulling up for a
difficult 25-foot 3-pointer on the next possession – with 0:30 seconds
left – to seal the deal.
The rarely used Michael Doleac started at center as a counter
against Yao and did a decent job of keeping him off the low block in
the first and third quarters. Jefferson was so effective with the ball
against Yao that it could have had a carry-over effect on him at the
The Wolves, though, were a little too sloppy in stretches to
ultimately beat a team that’s currently playing as well as any in the
league. Their four-game home winning streak ended after turning the
ball over 16 times, four by Randy Foye.
had 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds. "We came back down,
executed. I figured it was time for me to make a big play and hit a big
shot. It’s what I had to do.
"This is a big win for us. That’s a young, gifted team over there.
They’re playing extremely well at home. You can’t look at their (10-37)
record. They have won five of their last (seven) and four straight at
home. We didn’t underestimate these guys. We knew how much this meant