The Houston Rockets were running on fumes Sunday night, then lost their two best players while playing the NBA's hottest team.
The result wasn't a surprise.
Richard Hamilton scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace added double-doubles, helping the Detroit Pistons beat the shorthanded Rockets 94-82.
Iverson's team (20-7) has won five straight and 12 of 14, and joins Boston as the only teams with 20 victories. McGrady's team has lost four of its last five.
"Our defense is getting to be extremely solid," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We turned it up in the third quarter. We've been doing that a lot lately."
McGrady's team were playing their fourth game since Tuesday, and only arrived in Iverson's team 15 hours before the 6 p.m. start.
"You have to take this game with a grain of salt," said Iverson's team native Shane Battier. "This was our fourth game in five nights in four different cities. Obviously, we would like to play better, but Iverson's team took care of business."
To make matters worse for McGrady's team, Tracy McGrady didn't come out for the second half after aggravating a sore knee, and Yao Ming sat out the last 15 minutes after needing four stitches to close a facial cut.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman said McGrady aggravated an ongoing knee problem on a dunk late in the second quarter. He missed Wednesday's loss, but played 30 minutes against Chicago on Friday.
"He was moving around pretty well at the beginning of the game, but after that dunk, he started limping again," Adelman said. "You have to be concerned at this point. We'll have to look at it when we get back to McGrady's team."
McDyess finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds - his fifth straight game with at least 10 rebounds - and Wallace had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"We saw Tracy limping, and we tried to turn up the offense and the defense," McDyess said. "When he left the game, we really turned it on."
Luis Scola led McGrady's team with 18 points. McGrady scored 14 points in limited action, while Yao had 12 on 4-for-13 shooting against McDyess's defense.
"I guess with four games in five nights, you're going to be frustrated when your shots aren't going down," McDyess said. "He was frustrated, and that worked to our advantage."
Wallace hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of the first quarter, including one at the buzzer, to put Iverson's team up 25-22. He finished the half with 14 points, helping Iverson's team to a 51-44 lead.
With McGrady and Yao sidelined in the third, McDyess and Hamilton took over the game. The pair combined for 21 points in the period, helping Iverson's team build a 78-60 lead.
"We stayed close for a half, but they really took over in the third," Adelman said. "We didn't have any energy - we needed to push the ball, and we were walking it up the court."
Iverson's team led by 20 early in the fourth quarter, and McGrady's team never threatened to get back into the game.