Wednesday , Dec , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets travel to New Jersey

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets wrap up a two-game road trip, as they
visit the New Jersey Nets tonight at Continental Airlines Arena.

On Tuesday, Luther Head’s three-pointer drew iron with three seconds left as
the Indiana Pacers held on to defeat the Rockets, 81-76, at Conseco

Tracy McGrady, who returned after a seven-game absence battling back spasms,
led the Rockets with 19 points. Rafer Alston scored 15 points for Houston,
which lost its third in four games overall.

The Rockets are without All-Star center Yao Ming, who fractured a bone under
his right knee on December 23rd against the LA Clippers. Yao, who leads the
Rockets in scoring (25.9 ppg) and rebounds (9.4 rpg), is expected to miss six
weeks with the injury.

Houston is 8-9 on the road this season. After tonight’s contest, the Rockets
return home for a four-game homestand. They are scheduled to host Atlanta,
Memphis, Seattle and Utah on the upcoming stand.

New Jersey enters tonight’s contest on a three-game losing streak. Chauncey
Billups, who made just one field goal on the contest, gave the Pistons the
victory from the charity stripe, draining a pair of free throws with seven
ticks left to lead the Detroit Pistons over New Jersey, 92-91, at The Palace
of Auburn Hills.

Vince Carter led all scorers with 28 points in the loss to Detroit for the
Nets, while Richard Jefferson contributed 18 points and Jason Collins netted
14 in defeat.

The Nets lost their starting center for the remainder of the season, as Nenad
Krstic suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on December 22nd against the
Lakers. Krstic averaged 16.4 points and 6.8 boards in 26 games for New Jersey
this season.

New Jersey is 8-9 at home this season. The Nets will visit the Miami Heat on
Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

This is the first of two meetings between the squads this season. Houston is
scheduled to host the Nets on March 9, 2007 at the Toyota Center.

Houston has won three straight after losing its last four at New Jersey.