Friday , Mar , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets are barely alive in playoff race

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets (31-40) are 4 1/2 games behind the
Sacramento Kings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the
Western Conference. They also trail New Orleans/Oklahoma City and Utah,
which are also on the outside looking in at the postseason.

On Friday, the Washington Wizards play the fifth of a six-game road trip, as
they visit the Rockets at the Toyota Center. It is the second and final
meeting of the campaign between the teams. On January 3rd, Tracy McGrady, who
is currently sidelined indefinitely with back spasms, ended with 38 points to
pace the Rockets to a 123-111 victory over the Wizards at Washington.

Washington has lost three straight and 10 of its last 11 at Houston.

Houston plays the finale of a three-game homestand against the Wizards. On
Wednesday, Yao Ming finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Rockets
crushed the Seattle SuperSonics, 115-87, at the Toyota Center.

Stromile Swift and Richie Frahm both came off the bench to score 16 points
apiece in the win over Seattle for the Rockets, who have won two of their last
three contests. Rookie Luther Head netted 14, while Juwan Howard scored 13 in
the victory.

The Rockets are just 14-23 at the Toyota Center this season. After Friday’s
game, Houston embarks on a six-game road trip that includes stops at the
Lakers, Seattle, Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and Utah.

Seven of Houston’s final 11 games this season are on the road. The Rockets
will also visit the Denver Nuggets on April 17th at the Pepsi Center.

Besides the Wizards, Houston’s remaining home games are against Minnesota,
Memphis and San Antonio.