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The rookie outworked Yao for a rebound on his first two trips down the court, and then sliced past him, caught a pass from Butler and threw down a two-handed jam.

McGee’s teammates also attacked the basket, and as a result the Wizards scored 12 of their first 14 points in the paint. Washington shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first quarter while limiting the Rockets to 33.3 percent and forcing them into seven turnovers. The effort translated into a 29-17 Wizards lead heading into the second quarter.

Houston fought back, but the Wizards remained in front 50-49 at halftime and led 77-70 heading into the fourth. After a Washington lineup of reserves increased the lead to 85-76, Houston went on its McGrady-led tear.

“Over the last couple of games, it’s just been the closing,” Butler said. “We got quality shots, but tonight the shots didn’t fall down the stretch. I had a couple looks that went in and out, and shots that nine times out of 10 I would make and we fell a little short. But you just live with it, bite the bullet, get on the plane and head to New York, toss and turn a little bit and then get ready for the Knicks.”