ATLANTA — The Houston Rockets' 20th consecutive win was far from pretty, but coach Rick Adelman was still impressed with his team.
The Rockets were held to their lowest first-half total of the season but pulled away late to become the third team in NBA history to win 20 consecutive games, tying for the league's second-longest winning streak with an 83-75 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
"It may be the ugliest thing we've done, but it might have been the best one," Adelman said, "the way we fought through it."
The Rockets joined the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 straight) and 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20) as the only teams to win 20 or more in a row.
Tracy McGrady scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half for Houston, which led only 71-70 with five minutes left. McGrady then scored five points in Houston's 10-0 run to take control.
"We're really happy with this win because we didn't play well in the first half," McGrady said. "This is a pretty ugly game tonight. We didn't shoot well and it was one of those games that our defense really had to win for us."
Modesto's Chuck Hayes played 33 minutes off the bench, tied for the team lead with 12 rebounds and scored eight points for Houston on 4-of-6 shooting.
MAGIC 110, CLIPPERS 88, at Orlando, Fla. — Dwight Howard had his league-leading 57th double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando, which had all five starters in double figures by the end of the third.