McGrady scores 16 in each half

HOUSTON (AP) -- Facing a crucial four-game road trip against some of the best teams in the West, the Houston Rockets needed a win Sunday. And they didn't care how they got it.

Tracy McGrady scored 32 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Houston to a 90-69 victory over the injury-depleted Dallas Mavericks, who played without leading scorers Dirk Nowitzki and
Michael Finley.

"Regardless of who was or wasn't playing, to win this one means a lot," said McGrady, who scored 27 of his points after getting six stitches on his chin following a collision in the first quarter. "It gives us confidence. It's a real crucial road trip for us."

The Mavericks, who were without Nowitzki and Finley for just the second time this season, set a season low for total points and points in a half with 35. It was their lowest point total since scoring 80 against San Antonio in November.

Houston, which had dropped four of its last five before Sunday's win, travels to Seattle and Phoenix next week before facing Sacramento next Sunday. All three teams lead the sixth-place Rockets in the conference standings.

"This is just what we need to feel good about ourselves for the road trip," Rockets guard Jon Barry said.

Dallas entered the game averaging almost 103 points a game but finished just 29-of-78 (37 percent) from the field.

Nowitzki, who was averaging 27 points, sat out with a sprained left knee, and Finley missed his second straight game with a bruised left calf. This was the second game Nowitzki has missed this season, after sitting out a game last November with a sprained left ankle.

"We had our best two offensive players in street clothes, so you make the decision on how it affected us," Dallas coach Don Nelson said.

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was worried that the absence of Nowitzki and Finley could cause his team to play with less intensity.

"I thought we did a good job in just staying mentally ready," he said. "You cannot minimize them missing Nowitzki. He's that good. But at the same time, we did some good things."

Dallas erased a nine-point halftime deficit after going on a 12-0 run, capped when Jerry Stackhouse hit a turnaround jumper to give the Mavericks a 47-46 lead.

The Rockets scored the next eight points to go back on top and never trailed again.

Houston outscored the Mavericks 29-14 in the final period to stretch its lead.

Jason Terry led Dallas with 20 points. Keith Van Horn, who started for Nowitzki, added 12. The Mavericks have lost three in a row and four of their last five following a six-game winning streak.

"We had a chance but didn't get it done at the end," said Stackhouse, who had nine points. "The injuries are no excuse."

The Rockets outrebounded Dallas 54-37. It was the third-highest rebounding total for Houston this season. Yao Ming had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Juwan Howard and David Wesley added 11 apiece for Houston.

Game notes
Finley, who never sat out a game during his first six NBA seasons, has missed 53 games over the last four because of injuries. ... Yao recorded his team-leading 18th double-double. ... A franchise-record 22 players have suited up for Houston this season, surpassing the old record of 19 from 1977-78. ... The Rockets are 15-2 when McGrady scores 30 points or more.