In a season of absolutely disgusting and embarrassing Houston Rocket offense came one of their classic clunkers... capped by one of the greatest shooting displays, possibly in NBA history.
Send thank you cards addressed to: McGrady, Tracy.
With 52 seconds left at home against the San Antonio Spurs, the Rockets trailed 74-64. Many teams don't even bother to try to come back at this point. No heaves for three, no pointless fouls. It's over. Spare the fans the agony, promote your music album and move on to the next game.
But Tracy McGrady simply d-o-m-i-n-a-t-e-d the finish.
There is no other word to describe it really. If you didn't turn it off, if you withstood the gut-punch that is watching this offense operate and didn't leave the building, you saw pure greatness.
It all started with just under a minute to go. Yao Ming scored, and Scott Padgett stole the ball and threw down a dunk to get the team within 6. Two Spurs free throws bumped it back to 8. From there? All T-Mac.
McGrady nailed a triple with 35 seconds left to bring the Rockets within 5. After two free throws by the Spurs, T-Mac got hammered by Tim Duncan, and still double-pumped a triple in. It was just sick. The four-point play brought Houston within just three.
Two more free throws, these by Duncan, seemed to be the nail in the coffin, but McGrady hit another triple with 11 seconds left to make it 80-78, San Antonio.
Then the Spurs opened the door for McGrady to make this just surreal. Devin Brown got the inbounds, expected a foul as he drove but fell over. McGrady scooped up the loose ball with a little over 6 seconds left, ran the length of the floor and tossed up another 26-foot bomb.
BULLSEYE. His teammates mob him, Gregg Popovich's jaw is on the floor and the six fans that remained in the building go nuts.
Are you kidding me?
This Jeff Van Gundy monstrosity wheezes it's way to just 64 points in the first 47+ minutes and folks, this game is in the books as a loss. But all of a sudden T-Mac does a Reggie Miller on Barry Bonds juice and the Rockets knock off arguably the best team in the West.
Unimaginable. Unbelievable. Unreal.
The final tally - 17 points in 52 seconds. The final 13 of them came from McGrady and they all happened in a 33.3 second span. The man finishes with 33 points, 8 boards, 5 steals and 5 triples.
The final minute is not to be erased off your Tivos. It's a classic. As for the other 47 minutes, wipe it clean. Yao had his strong moments and played very well (27 points, 10 boards) but the rest of the team sucked like a Hoover. Not a single other Rocket scored more than 5 points, and don't get me going on the power forward rant.
I've never seen Maurice Taylor so pathetic. Mo has always been about one thing - offense - and he can't even do that now. His shot is gone. 2-10 from the floor, with his usual 2 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Fortunately we have Juwan Howard, right? Uh, no. 2-10 from the floor for 5 points. When they said Juwan was a lot like Mo, they weren't kidding.
Things were so bad before the T-Mac Mr. Incredible impersonation that fans booed Bobby Sura when he threw up a wide open airball from three-point land with just under 2 minutes left.
In the end, the amazing fireworks finale by a truly special player will overshadow this team's offensive ineptitude, but it continues to have real problems, and I'm not sure any more that Jeff Van Gundy is the right coach for this team.
But I am sure about that offseason trade.