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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 9th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (31-31) at Washington Wizards (21-39), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The chances of the Houston Rockets making the playoffs are fading like a flattop. Tonight they'll have to get past the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center and hope for some help around the league.

Houston is 4 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff berth in the West and will close out a three-game road trip Tuesday night. It has alternated wins and losses over the past seven games and suffered a 110-107 overtime loss in Detroit the last time out on Sunday. Rockets newcomer Kevin Martin led the squad with 27 points, but missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the end of overtime. Aaron Brooks added 25 points and seven assists in defeat.

"We came here and gave it a good fight," said Brooks, who has averaged 23.0 points and 6.8 assists over his last 10 games. "We knew it was going to be a tough one. We were in control of the game the whole game, then we kind of let it slip away from us."

Luis Scola had 20 points and 15 boards for Houston, which fell to 14-17 as the visitor this season. Scola has recorded three straight double-doubles. Jordan Hill had a breakout game for the Rockets, setting career bests with 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

The Wizards hope to get over a tough loss in Boston on Sunday, as they open a short homestand Tuesday versus Houston and Atlanta. Washington has lost three in a row overall, three straight at home and owns a 12-19 mark as the host.

Al Thornton led the Wizards with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer. Andray Blatche posted 23 points and nine boards in defeat, and is averaging 24.0 points and 10.6 rebounds in 10 games since the All-Star break.

"Well we choked," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "Six minutes to go we're up thirteen. We got young guys, they don't know what it's like to be in [that] situation."

Losers of five of six games overall, the Wizards will try to reverse their fortunes against the Rockets. Houston has won seven of eight and 15 of the past 20 meetings with Washington, which is winless in the last four matchups as the host in this interconference series.

The Wizards and Rockets will meet again on March 30th in Houston. Thornton is averaging 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in two games played (w/Clippers) versus the Rockets in 2009-10.

03/09 10:31:14 ET


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