COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 2nd (All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (49-24) at Toronto Raptors (42-32), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets have stumbled a bit recently and will try to get back on track Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors.
The Rockets are winless in back-to-back games since winning five in a row and suffered a 105-96 loss at Brooklyn on Tuesday. James Harden scored 26 points and made 16-of-16 free throws, while Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin netted 16 points apiece.
Omer Asik started again in place of Dwight Howard and registered 12 points to go along with 23 rebounds.
Houston shot 38.1 percent for the game.
"We let them get too comfortable early in the game. They got it going and it was tough," Harden said.
Howard sat with a left ankle sprain and is expected to miss Wednesday's game. Forward Terrence Jones is questionable with flu-like symptoms.
The Rockets are 20-16 on the road and fourth in the West -- 1 1/2 games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers. After visiting the Raptors, Houston will return home to play Oklahoma City and Denver.
Toronto is also playoff bound and looks to get back on track after having a three-game winning streak stopped at Miami on Monday.
Greivis Vasquez led the Raptors with 17 points, DeMar DeRozan had 16 and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 and 10 rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 11 points and left the game with a left knee injury. X-rays were negative and he is questionable versus the Rockets.
The game was tight through the first two quarters, but the Heat scored 20 of the 34 points in the third quarter to take control. The Heat shot 52 percent and the Raptors made 50 percent of their attempts.
"We lost it in the third period. We came out too relaxed. We didn't attack the basket. Everything worked for them," Vasquez said.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey needs one more win for 100 with the team.
Toronto, which went 10-6 in March and has a 14-8 record since the All-Star break, is currently even with Chicago for the third spot in the East -- 1 1/2 games in front of Brooklyn. The Raptors will also host Indiana and has a 22-14 record at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nets for the Atlantic lead.
DeRozan averaged 22.8 points in March and Lowry posted 19.3 ppg last month.
Houston defeated Toronto 110-104 in double overtime back on Nov. 11 in Space City. Lin had 31 points off the bench, Harden scored 26 points and Howard tallied 18 and 24 rebounds. DeRozan scored 22 points in that one for the Raptors, who have won six in a row and nine of 10 at home in this series.
04/02 10:25:43 ET