If the Houston Rockets' three-game winning streak is the beginning of a late playoff push, the team knows it still has plenty of work to do in its final 17 games.
Jumping past the Memphis Grizzlies would be a start.
The Rockets will try to hand Memphis an eighth straight loss in Houston while snapping the Grizzlies' seven-game road winning streak as the postseason hopefuls meet Wednesday night, with the winner grabbing ninth place in the Western Conference.
Memphis' 104-97 win over Chicago on Tuesday pushed the Grizzlies (36-32) a half-game ahead of idle Houston in the West, with both teams still chasing eighth-place Portland.
The Rockets (34-31) remain five games behind the Trail Blazers, although they're three in back of Portland in the loss column as they chase a fourth straight playoff berth.
"We don't have much room for error," Houston forward Luis Scola said. "It's only like a month away, the end of the season, so we need to win games."
Scola has been playing with appropriate desperation lately, picking up double-doubles in six straight games and averaging 25.7 points and 14.5 rebounds in that stretch.
He had a career-high 44 points in a 116-108 win over NBA-worst New Jersey on Saturday, but the Rockets may draw more confidence from Monday's 125-123 win over Denver.
Aaron Brooks led the way with 31 points and Houston erased an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, breaking a tie with Brooks' jumper in the closing seconds. The Rockets secured their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 18-22 - they haven't won four in a row all season.
"I can see a change in the team," Scola told the NBA's official Web site. "It's only three games that we've won, I know, but I think we've played better."
The addition of Kevin Martin has been one positive change. Acquired from Sacramento on Feb. 18, the guard is averaging 25.3 points in 10 games since entering the Rockets' starting lineup, totaling 29 against the Nuggets.
Houston hasn't needed big point totals to beat the Grizzlies this season, holding Memphis to an average of 81.0 points in a pair of comfortable wins.
The Grizzlies' 104-79 loss on Nov. 11 was their seventh consecutive defeat at the Toyota Center, and Memphis began the season by losing 17 of its first 25 road games. But the club has won its last seven road games overall to set a franchise record, and its last trip resulted in a 111-91 win over Boston last Wednesday.
Memphis has won four of five overall after Tuesday's win. The Grizzlies nearly squandered a 25-point lead, but held on as all five starters scored in double figures - including center Hasheem Thabeet, who was starting in place of Marc Gasol (strained neck).
Thabeet, largely a disappointment after he was drafted No. 2 overall last summer, matched season highs with 10 points and nine rebounds.
"He's going to continue to get better," said Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, who had a team-high 24 points. "As his teammates, as his brothers, we just have to be patient with him and continue to root him on, cheer him on and stay positive with him."
The Grizzlies are seeking their first postseason appearance since 2006, and they'll have to continue their strong road play to have a chance. They play four of their next five and nine of their final 14 on the road.