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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Wednesday, February 8th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (24-24) at Houston Rockets (22-25), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Houston Rockets try to extend their winning streak to five games tonight, as they welcome the struggling Los Angeles Lakers to the Toyota Center.

Houston won five in a row earlier this season from December 6-15.

The Rockets, who return home after going undefeated on a two-game road trip, open a three-game homestand this evening. On Monday, Yao Ming scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help Houston defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, 87-81, at the Wachovia Center.

Rafer Alston finished with 19 points and eight assists, while Tracy McGrady contributed 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting from the field in the win over Philadelphia for the Rockets, who have won six of their last nine games overall.

Houston is just 6-15 at home this season. It has won two in a row at the Toyota Center. The Rockets will also host the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks on the current homestand.

Los Angeles, which has lost four straight games, plays the finale of its season-long seven-game road trip. It is 1-6 on its current swing. On Tuesday, Dirk Nowitzki poured in 26 points and pulled down 12 boards to lead the red- hot Dallas Mavericks to their 12th straight win, 102-87 over the Lakers at American Airlines Center.

Brian Cook, who shot 12-of-16 from the field, finished with a career-high 28 points in the loss to Dallas for the Lakers. All-Star Kobe Bryant contributed 24 points for Los Angeles, but the star guard shot just 5-of-22 from the floor.

The Lakers are 12-16 on the road this season. They have lost eight of their last 10 as the visitor.

This is the second meeting of the season between the clubs. On December 18th, McGrady's layup with 0.3 seconds left boosted the Rockets to a 76-74 victory over the at the Staples Center.

The Rockets have won three straight after losing the last four meetings in this series. The Lakers have won three of five and six of their last nine at Houston.

The Lakers are scheduled to host the Rockets on April 2nd at the Staples Center.

02/08 10:39:46 ET

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