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Reeling Wizards Let Chance for Victory Slip Against Yao, Rockets
"That dunk made me remember my first year against Shaq," Yao said. "I was thinking I could block shots and let him back me down in the paint. And then the same thing happened to me."
"He's real big," said McGee, who picked up his fourth foul with 8:10 left in the third quarter. "I was just trying to play aggressive, keep him in front of me and keep him away from the rim but it was pretty hard. I was playing aggressive but he was playing a lot more aggressive than me. They kept calling fouls on me so that made me frustrated a little bit."
After Butler grabbed an offensive rebound and made a fadeaway jumper, giving Washington a 91-90 lead, McGrady drained another long jumper.
"In the fourth, we decided to show up and play," said McGrady, who scored 14 points in the fourth on 4-of-5 shooting. "Yao got aggressive. We were knocking down perimeter shots. When you're doing that, momentum transfers to the defense."
The Wizards led by nine in the third quarter, primarily because Jamison continued to establish low post position and draw fouls. Jamison made 7 of 8 free throw attempts during the quarter and also grabbed five rebounds.
The Wizards got off to a great start thanks in part to McGee, who drove around Yao and scored on the first possession of the game, then knocked the ball away from Yao when he tried to score on Houston's first possession.
The Wizards scored 12 of their first 14 points in the paint and led 29-17 going into the second quarter. They led 50-49 at the half and by nine late in the third following an alley-oop dunk by Caron Butler.
Still, the story of the game was in the fourth quarter where the Wizards were outscored 33-14 and once again were unable to close out a close game.
"It was tough," Butler said. "We had a good handle on their core guys for the majority of the game. You knew at some point in the game Tracy McGrady was going to get it going and he had some critical shots. I think Yao got the team united when he had the big dunk and the momentum just kind of shifted in their favor at that point."