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1/20/2006 - Chicago Tribune
McGrady puts hurt on Bulls
1/20/2006 - Chicago Tribune
Skiles sees good career for Head
1/19/2006 - Chicago Daily Herald
Bulls just can’t close the deal
1/19/2006 - Chicago Sun-Times
T-Mac back at bad time for Bulls
1/19/2006 - Houston Chronicle
Rockets put McGrady back to work
T-Mac Returns in Thrilling Win
Rockets force double OT with Bulls, win 109-108 behind McGrady's 35
By Clutch
JANUARY 20, 2006 10:32 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. BULLS

McGrady was magical down the stretch, but Hayes may not get this chance again ... his 12 points, 13 boards and a pair of blocks will make many "box score-watchers" do a double take in the morning. Props to the rookie for playing like a solid veteran.
The Rockets held the Bulls' guard to 4-17 shooting and won the game by forcing the former Kansas standout to airball a layup/short drive as time expired.
Season lost?

Perhaps, but it doesn't look like Tracy McGrady got the memo.

T-Mac returned Friday night in Chicago and suddenly the Rockets were watchable again. By the fourth quarter it became Must-See TV and if you missed the overtimes, God help you.

McGrady scored 35 points, hitting several key baskets at critical times, as the Rockets snapped a 7-game slide by beating the Bulls in Chicago 109-108 in a thrilling double overtime affair.

Tracy, playing his first game since going down to back spasms almost 2 weeks ago, hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, hit a huge 19-footer with 15 seconds left in the first overtime and a dagger three-pointer with 42 seconds left in the second OT.

Now, he had his miscues -- he started the game 6-19 from the field and he missed a triple with 11 seconds left in double OT, giving the Bulls a chance to win it -- but after watching this game, you realize how much of a massive impact a guy like McGrady has on this team. He finds David Wesley wide open behind the three-point line and he creates for a guy like Juwan Howard.

And he was unreal down the stretch, hitting 7 of his final 10 shots. All championship aspirations for the Rockets ride on that young man's back. Literally.

But there was another hero who emerged Friday night -- a surprising one. Chuck Hayes, in just his second game of a 10-day deal, played all the crunch time minutes for the Rockets, and he responded. He finished with 12 points and 13 boards and made some game-winning plays for the team.

With 11 seconds left in regulation, Hayes blocked a Kirk Hinrich drive from behind, got the ball and called timeout (setting up T-Mac to tie the game). In double OT, he got an extremely tough offensive board with just under a minute to go, setting up T-Mac again for a big three.

Hayes... I mean, the dude just came out of nowhere.

It's not fair to mention the contributions of Juwan Howard down this far in the recap, but his 30 points (on 15-28 shooting) were critical ... his 15-18 footer is becoming damn near automatic.

David Wesley added 17 points while Rafer Alston had 12 assists and 8 boards (whoa).

I understand that the Rockets could/should/will get a very rude wake-up call Sunday in Detroit against the Pistons, but for one night, it was incredibly thrilling to watch this team again.


Clutch can be reached at clutch@clutchcity.net and also can be followed on Twitter



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