TODAY'S PAPER
88° Good Evening
88° Good Evening
Sports

A bittersweet game for McGrady as Knicks face Rockets

Knicks guard Tracy McGrady (3) drives the lane

Knicks guard Tracy McGrady (3) drives the lane against Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler (4)during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas on Saturday, March 13, 2010. The Knicks won 128-94 Photo Credit: AP

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Tracy McGrady said he harbors no resentment, but the remnants of his messy departure from Houston still gnaw at him.

He hasn't forgotten the disrespect, he felt, the Rockets showed him, nor has he forgotten the days he had to spend away from his wife and four children - ages 1 to 4 - after being shipped to the Knicks last month in a three-team deal.

"For what I did for the franchise, I felt like I was mistreated," said McGrady, who saw his family Thursday for the first time since the trade. "I've moved on from that situation. I didn't cry about it, I didn't pout about it. I felt like I deserved better, but it's the way it turned out."

Today, McGrady will face Houston for the first time since he was dealt to the Knicks last month. It'll be his chance to show his former club that his playing days at the Toyota Center could've been salvaged after season-ending microfracture surgery on his left knee in February 2009.

The reunion won't be overwhelming, but it will be bittersweet, McGrady said.

"That's where I thought I was going to end my career," he said. "My family and myself, we love the city of Houston, and everything has been great there. It's just unfortunate that it had to come to that . . .

"I was kind of thrown under the bus a little bit, with not having the organization protect me from everything that was said about me in the media. Nobody really came out and told the truth about some of the things that were said. Like the time I had my surgery, I notified the team and they said in the media that I never told the team."

The competitor in him wants to have a breakout game against the Rockets, to show that - in his words - "I still got it." But even McGrady knows dropping 40 points, or even 30, isn't an option - not at this stage in his recovery.

"Just because I'm playing Houston, I'm not going to dominate the ball," he said.

Twenty-five minutes per game has been the plan for McGrady since he arrived in New York, and that's where he'll stay, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said.

McGrady said he understands that he and fellow franchise player Yao Ming didn't get the job done in Houston by winning a championship. And after two years of rehab - a period he described as "hell" - McGrady's done thinking about Houston.

"There were a lot of days and nights where I felt like I couldn't do it no more, where I felt like, 'This isn't even worth it anymore,' " he said. "But I wasn't going to allow myself to go out that way."

Notes & quotes: David Lee, who was not at practice yesterday, is expected to play today. Jonathan Bender, who fractured his left ring finger Friday night against Philadelphia, is out for the season and will have surgery tomorrow.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports