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Rockets Take a 2-0 Lead; Pacers, Miller Draw Even

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 26, 2005; Page D10

Yao Ming scored 33 points on 13-of-14 shooting, with his only miss arguably being more of a turnover, and Tracy McGrady added 28 points, but their spectacular baskets in the final 1 minute 7 seconds mattered most in Houston's 113-111 victory over the Mavericks last night in Dallas that secured a 2-0 lead in the first-round, best-of-seven series.

The Rockets trailed 102-95 with 5:36 left, but McGrady began a run of six straight shots with another of his amazing jumpers. When the Mavericks tied it at 109, the duo came through again, with McGrady driving to the rim, then slipping the ball to Yao for an easy dunk with 1:06 left.

The Pacers' Stephen Jackson (20 points), left, and Reggie Miller (28 points) played a big part in the Game 2 victory. (Elise Amendola -- AP)

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Dallas tied it again, though, when Dirk Nowitzki -- who broke out of his series-long slump midway through the fourth quarter -- faked McGrady several times and made a jumper from near the free throw line with 10 seconds left.

McGrady, however, never hesitated. Not even looking to the bench for a possible timeout, he inbounded the ball, got it back right away and went to the top right of the three-point line. Setting up behind Yao's screen, he made a long two-pointer, and the Mavericks called time.

Given one last chance to salvage a split at home, Dallas failed when Michael Finley missed a shot from near the top of the key.

With Yao scoring his most points since getting 40 against Toronto on Dec. 20, and McGrady making 10 of 19 shots, the Rockets didn't need much else. But they got 16 from Jon Barry, including three straight three-pointers early in the second quarter, and 14 from Bob Sura, including the three-pointer that put Houston up 109-107.

PACERS 82, CELTICS 79: Reggie Miller still had a big shot left in his 39-year-old body.

Miller hit a 13-footer for visiting Indiana's last basket, capping his 28-point game and leading the Pacers in the win to tie the best-of-seven playoff series at one game each.

It was quite a comeback for the Pacers and Miller, who made 1 of 7 shots and scored seven points in Boston's 102-82 opening win Saturday night.

After Miller, who plans to retire after the season, gave the Pacers the three-point lead, Ricky Davis missed a jumper with 31 seconds to go and Jermaine O'Neal rebounded for Indiana. Anthony Johnson then missed from the left corner with six seconds remaining and Paul Pierce rebounded for Boston.

But Pierce, who led the Celtics with 33 points, missed a very long three-pointer with 3.2 seconds to go. Johnson rebounded again and kept the ball until time expired.

Boston had taken its biggest lead, 75-68, on Davis's basket with 8:21 remaining. But Indiana outscored the Celtics 18-10 in the fourth quarter, which began with Boston leading 69-64.

Antoine Walker's layup put Boston ahead 78-74 with 2:41 left. Johnson's short jumper in the lane cut the lead to two and Indiana tied the game on Stephen Jackson's dunk with 1:41 to go. Then Johnson drove the open lane for a layup and Pierce made 1 of 2 free throws, leaving Indiana ahead, 80-79, with 56 seconds remaining.

Walker scored 19 points for Boston and Jackson had 20 for Indiana, but just four after the first quarter.

Indiana led 30-22 after one quarter behind Jackson's 16 points. The Pacers made nine of their first 10 shots, taking a 24-15 lead on the ninth basket, a dunk by O'Neal. During that stretch, Jackson made all three of his three-pointers and Miller went 2 for 2 on his.

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