NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 29th (All times eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (14-43) at Houston Rockets (37-20), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Houston Rockets aim to extend their longest winning streak in 14 years when the scorching club takes on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at the Toyota Center.
Houston has ripped off 13 consecutive victories, the franchise's best run since it opened the 1993-94 campaign by winning its first 15 contests. The Rockets went on to win the world championship that year.
Not even the season-ending loss of All-Star center Yao Ming could stop Houston in its most recent time out, as the Rockets limited Washington to a mere 23 first-half points in posting a 94-69 rout of the Wizards Tuesday at the Toyota Center.
Luther Head led a balanced Houston scoring attack with 18 points, while rookie Luis Scola netted 14 in the victory.
Yao played over 36 minutes in the Rockets' 110-97 win over Chicago on Sunday, but the team announced prior to Tuesday's game that the Chinese superstar will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Yao leads Houston with averages of 22 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
His place in the starting lineup has been taken by 41-year-old Dikembe Mutombo, who had four points and six boards in a season-high 24 minutes on Tuesday.
Memphis is also dealing with injury problems at the moment, as second-leading scorer Mike Miller has sat out the club's last three games with a pinched nerve in his back and will not play again tonight.
The Grizzlies also own the third-worst record in the NBA at 14-43 and have dropped 12 of their last 13 games, including six in a row. The latest setback came Tuesday against the high-scoring Phoenix Suns, who cruised to a 127-113 decision over Memphis at FedEx Forum.
One bright spot for the Grizzlies was the performance of forward Rudy Gay, who delivered a career-high 36 points against the Suns. Juan Carlos Navarro added 23 points, while Hakim Warrick recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Memphis will be attempting to end a 12-game road losing streak tonight. The Grizzlies have not won as the visitor since a 90-72 triumph at Indiana on January 2 and have a woeful 4-23 road record this season.
Houston is playing the third test of a five-game homestand and have won their last eight matchups at the Toyota Center. The Rockets are 19-9 as the host in 2007-08.
The Rockets have also taken six of the seven most recent encounters between these Southwest Division rivals and are 3-0 against the Grizzlies in Houston over that stretch.
02/29 10:38:03 ET