NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 13th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Nets (7-58) at Houston Rockets (32-31), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The chances of the Houston Rockets making the playoffs seem to fade by the day. Tonight they'll have to get past the woeful New Jersey Nets at the Toyota Center in the opener of a four-game homestand and hope for some help around the league.
The Rockets finished a three-game road trip in positive fashion on Tuesday in Washington when Luis Scola totaled 23 points with 10 rebounds, as Houston held off the Wizards, 96-88.
"Big win for us," said Scola. "We needed this win to go back home and the push for the playoffs."
Kevin Martin chipped in with 21 points, Aaron Brooks totaled 14 and Trevor Ariza added 13 for the Rockets, who have alternated wins and losses over the last eight games and finished the trip, 2-1.
Houston is now 5 1/2 games behind Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with just 19 games to play.
New Jersey is an NBA-worst 7-58 on the season and is trying desperately to avoid finishing with the worst record in NBA history, set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73).
The Nets have lost three in a row and fell to 1-3 on a five-game road trip following Friday's 104-102 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant poured in 32 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in that one, his 36th 30-point game this season, breaking Spencer Haywood's franchise mark set from the 1972-73 season.
Devin Harris finished with 19 points and eight assists for the Nets while. Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively, off the bench.
Brook Lopez and Terrence Williams added 14 points apiece in defeat.
"I like our effort," Harris said. "Just coming down, giving ourselves a chance to win the game in the end. The way we've been starting out...has been a little disheartening, but other than that, I like the way our bench has been coming in and really gotten us back into the game. Second halves have really been key for us."
Houston has taken seven straight from the Nets and will be shooting for a home-and-home series sweep for the fourth consecutive season tonight. New Jersey hasn't beaten the Rockets since a 90-77 triumph at the Toyota Center on March 13, 2006.
03/13 10:32:38 ET