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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Wednesday, February 17th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (27-25) at Milwaukee Bucks (24-27), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams scratching for playoff positioning get together tonight in Milwaukee, where the struggling Houston Rockets take on the Bucks at the Bradley Center.

Houston has lost three in a row and is three games off the pace in the Western Conference standings. It is coming off last night's 104-95 loss to Utah, as Aaron Brooks and David Andersen finished with 18 points apiece for the Rockets, who have dropped seven of their last 10 games and sit 4 1/2 games behind Dallas for Southwest supremacy.

"That's a very good team we played," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said of the Jazz. "In the West, they are probably the second or third best team right now. We just came down to the end of the game there where their experience showed."

Trevor Ariza tallied 15 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Luis Scola added 14 points and six rebounds in defeat. The Rockets hope to build on their 12-14 road record Wednesday night and are 17-7 in games following a loss this season. The team is also considering trading superstar Tracy McGrady prior to the NBA trade deadline.

Milwaukee has won six of its last eight games and is 1 1/2 games out of the final postseason spot in the East. It kept its winning ways intact before the All-Star break with a 97-77 drubbing of the New Jersey Nets last Wednesday at the Meadowlands thanks to Andrew Bogut's 22 points and nine rebounds.

Ersan Ilyasova chipped in 18 points off the bench for the Bucks, who got 17 points and eight assists from Luke Ridnour.

The Bucks are 16-8 as the host this season. Since the 2000 All-Star Weekend, they are 9-1 in their first game against a Western Conference opponent following the break.

Houston will try to stop the Bucks' strong mark and already beat them this season by a 101-98 score in overtime on January 18 at the Toyota Center. The Rockets have won nine of the previous 10 meetings with Milwaukee.

02/17 10:39:18 ET

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