HOUSTON -- Rafer Alston wears the same No. 12 that Rick Adelman wore when he played for the San Diego Rockets nearly 40 years ago.
On Monday, Alston helped Adelman get a more significant number -- his 800th career coaching victory.
"I know that when you hit something like that, you really think about all the good things that happen to you," Adelman said. "I have been really fortunate to have three different teams that are very, very good and that's why you get wins like that."
Adelman, who won 395 games coaching the Kings from 1998-2006, is one of six active coaches with 800 victories, joining Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Don Nelson and George Karl.
"Impressive," Alston said. "I hope they ask the question, who was on that team that helped him win 800? Years from now, people are going to remember my name."
Shane Battier added 15 points for the Rockets, who won for the second time in five games since the end of their 22-game winning streak last Tuesday. Houston entered action Monday in fifth place in the Western Conference, but only one game behind New Orleans and the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 1 spot.
Kevin Martin scored 18, and Ron Artest and Francisco Garcia had 17 apiece to lead the Kings, who've lost eight of their past nine road games. Sacramento allowed 100 points for the 17th time in 18 games as Houston shot 50 percent from the field (35-for-70).
Several Kings congratulated Adelman as he walked off the court.
"I helped him get a few of those," Sacramento center Brad Miller said. "He's a great coach to have played for."
The Rockets led by eight midway through the fourth quarter, but baskets by Quincy Douby and John Salmons cut the lead in half. Artest scored inside with 4:13 left to pull Sacramento within two at 91-89.
Rookie Carl Landry answered with a basket inside and Alston then hit two free throws and flipped in a one-handed shot from the baseline as the Rockets took control for good.
"Rafer's been playing well," McGrady said. "We needed all those points that he gave us."
Houston kept Sacramento at bay by going 9-for-12 from the free-throw line in the final 1:38. The Rockets went 33-for-42 from the free-throw line overall, setting season highs in both makes and attempts.
Houston came in shooting only 72 percent from the line.
"It's going to come down in games, especially in the playoffs, where you've got to make foul shots," said McGrady, who was 7-for-9 on free throws. "Tonight, we did a better job of concentrating on going up there and knocking them down."
McGrady said he sprained his left shoulder fighting through a screen late in the game. It was wrapped in ice afterward, but McGrady didn't expect to miss a game Wednesday against Minnesota.
McGrady twisted his left ankle less than five minutes in and scored only two points in the first quarter. Alston picked up the slack, scoring 12 in the quarter, and Houston led 26-24.
Chuck Hayes threw in a hook and McGrady sank a baseline jumper at the start of a 9-0 Rockets spurt that broke a 37-37 tie.
Artest and Garcia swished 3-pointers in the last 1:10 of the half to trim Houston's lead to 53-49 by the break. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half and the Kings also went 6-for-7 from 3-point range.
The Kings missed seven of their first 10 shots out of the break and Houston stretched its lead to 65-55. Garcia scored seven points in the last 2:16 of the third quarter as Sacramento cut the deficit to 77-72 heading to the fourth.
McGrady was resting on the bench as the final quarter began. He returned with 9:01 left and the Rockets leading 83-79. He hit two mid-range jumpers and sank a pair of free throws to push Houston's lead to 91-83.
"It was tough to overcome their free-throw shooting," Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said. "We had some runs, but then they went to the free-throw line and it was a rally killer."
The Rockets improved to 15-2 when scoring 100 points or more at home this season. Sacramento has dropped seven of its past 11 games overall, and eight of the past 11 meetings with Houston.
|Tracy McGrady embraces Rick Adelman after a crucial victory and a big milestone. (Getty Images)|
|Houston (48-23) «||26||27||24||31||108|
|SAC:K. Martin 18 Pts
SAC:B. Miller 7 Reb
SAC:M. Moore 6 Ast
|HOU:R. Alston 28 Pts
HOU:D. Mutombo 9 Reb
HOU:T. McGrady 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|R. Artest, SF||40||7-17||0-0||3||6||4||17|
|K. Martin, SG||31||7-11||3-4||2||3||6||18|
|B. Miller, C||30||3-6||0-0||7||4||1||7|
|M. Moore, PF||27||3-8||1-2||4||6||4||7|
|B. Udrih, PG||10||1-4||0-0||1||1||0||2|
|F. Garcia, SF||28||7-13||0-0||5||2||3||17|
|J. Salmons, SF||25||4-7||7-8||5||2||3||15|
|A. Johnson, PG||21||3-5||0-0||0||1||2||7|
|S. Hawes, C||18||3-4||0-2||2||0||3||6|
|Q. Douby, SG||9||2-2||0-0||0||0||1||4|
|S. Abdur-Rahim, PF||Did Not Play|
|L. Wright, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Thomas, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Williams, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|T. McGrady, SG||41||5-16||7-9||2||6||3||17|
|R. Alston, PG||39||9-17||7-8||3||5||0||28|
|S. Battier, SF||38||5-12||5-8||5||1||1||15|
|L. Scola, PF||22||5-9||1-2||3||0||3||11|
|D. Mutombo, C||17||2-2||2-2||9||0||1||6|
|C. Hayes, PF||30||3-4||4-5||7||4||2||10|
|C. Landry, PF||24||1-2||4-4||6||0||3||6|
|L. Head, PG||17||3-5||0-0||1||1||3||7|
|B. Jackson, PG||13||2-3||3-4||3||1||0||8|
|S. Francis, PG||Did Not Play|
|L. Woods, C||Did Not Play|
|Y. Ming, C||Did Not Play|
|S. Novak, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. Harris, SF||Did Not Play|
|A. Brooks, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|