The Houston Rockets are hoping a return home will help them end a season-high three-game skid. A visit from the lowly Utah Jazz might aid them as well.
Houston will try to register their longest win streak at the Toyota Center in five seasons by sending the last-place Jazz to their 10th loss in 11 games Monday night.
The Rockets (44-22) went winless during a three-game road trip against teams residing in the top four of their respective conferences. Houston played two teams, Oklahoma City and Miami, that are each in second place and fell 113-104 to the Heat on Sunday.
The Rockets turned an 11-point deficit in the second quarter into a five-point lead with 6:13 to go but allowed Miami to outscore them 21-7 down the stretch. James Harden had 30 points after being held to eight in a 111-87 defeat to Chicago on Thursday.
"We’re good. We’re in a good place. (We had) two tough games in Oklahoma City and (Miami), and in Chicago we just had one of those games that a lot of teams have," Harden said. "So we go back home tomorrow for a good one."
After Portland’s loss to Golden State on Sunday, Houston remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Trail Blazers for fourth place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Houston will attempt to pad that lead over idle Portland while securing its first nine-game home win streak since a 12-game run Jan. 31-March 8, 2009. The Rockets will also attempt to send Utah to its fifth consecutive defeat and 15th in the last 18 road games.
The Jazz (22-45) let NBA-leading San Antonio have its best shooting performance in three seasons (62.8 percent) in a 122-104 road loss Sunday. Utah is 1-21 when opponents shoot 50 percent or better and the Jazz have let teams shoot at least 47.4 percent each of the last eight games.
Derrick Favors’ career-best 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting and 10 rebounds provided a bright spot for Utah.
"This was a great night for me," Favors said. "My teammates did a good job of finding me in the post and in my spots, and I was hitting shots. Just one of those nights for me."
Favors had a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) in the most recent matchup with Houston on Dec. 2, and three other teammates topped 20 points as the Jazz snapped a four-game skid in the series.
Gordon Hayward had a team-best 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting while Trey Burke and Alec Burks each had 21. Harden led the Rockets with 37 points.
Harden scored 23 points in a 104-93 win in Utah on Nov. 2 despite twisting his ankle in the third quarter, and Chandler Parsons led the way with 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Houston has won in four of its last five home games against the Jazz and each of the last two. The most recent of those victories was on March 20, and Harden made 17 of 18 free throws en route to finishing with 29 points in that 100-93 win.