The Houston Rockets’ pursuit of a playoff berth hit a snag in
their last game against one of the best teams in the Eastern
The Rockets will try to bounce back against one of the East’s
worst clubs Tuesday night when they visit the New Jersey Nets
looking for a 10th consecutive win in the series.
Houston (38-35) climbed into ninth place in the Western
Conference thanks in part to a season high-tying five-game winning
streak March 14-23.
That run, though, came to an end Sunday with a 125-119 loss at
Miami, and the Rockets fell 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis
after the Grizzlies defeated San Antonio 111-104 that night.
Houston, which has won 12 of 16 while averaging 109.1 points,
trailed for 7:12 of the first quarter – 2:09 more than it trailed
in its previous five games combined.
“Now the challenge is responding in New Jersey,” coach Rick
Adelman told the Rockets’ official website. “We gave what we could
and came up short and now you’ve got to regroup and try to come
back and get that game Tuesday and go from there.”
Kevin Martin, first on Houston with 23.2 points per game, had 29
on Sunday. Point guard Kyle Lowry, averaging 21.5 points in his
last four contests, scored 25.
“We gave it all we had and we played hard but we didn’t execute
well enough to win,” said Martin, averaging 32.3 points over his
last three. “We’ll work on that and then get the next two games on
the road trip.”
Houston, which ends its three-game trek Wednesday night against
Philadelphia, has lost three of four away from home after winning
Luis Scola had 28 points Sunday, and the 6-foot-9 forward scored
a career-high 44 on 20-of-25 shooting with 12 rebounds in a 116-108
win over New Jersey on March 13, 2010.
He had 23 and seven, respectively, while Martin added 30 points
in a 123-108 win Feb. 26 – Houston’s 12th in 13 games against the
The Rockets have taken seven straight road meetings in the
series by an average of 12.9 points while limiting the Nets to 82.7
New Jersey (23-49) suffered its sixth defeat in seven games
Saturday night, 98-87 at Atlanta. The Nets are averaging 89.7
points over those seven contests.
After trailing by as many as 30 in the third quarter, New Jersey
battled back as swingman Anthony Morrow scored 10 of his 25 points
in the fourth.
“They never quit,” coach Avery Johnson said. “Our second half
was something to behold, to come from way back on the road. The
guys were battling. … But there are no moral victories.”
Center Brook Lopez, scoring a team-best 19.7 points per game,
had six on 3-of-9 shooting.
Deron Williams missed his fifth consecutive game with an injured
right wrist, and he is unlikely to play Tuesday. Williams had 15
points and 17 assists in last month’s meeting.