Rockets in Oklahoma with playoffs on mind
(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets aim for their sixth straight win and a
possible playoff berth when they pay a visit to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City
Hornets this evening at the Ford Center.
Houston posted its fifth straight win with Thursday’s 91-85 victory over the
Detroit Pistons at the Toyota Center. Yao Ming scored 27 points and grabbed
seven rebounds, as the Rockets won for the eighth time in nine games and sit
fifth in the Western Conference standings.
Tracy McGrady scored 20 points and tallied eight assists for the Rockets,
while Rafer Alston added 16 points, six assists, and six boards in the win.
If Houston tops the Hornets today and Golden State loses to the Los Angeles
Lakers later this evening, the Rockets will clinch a playoff berth for the
first time since the 2004-05 campaign.
Houston will now try to build on its 19-15 road mark this season.
Meanwhile, the Hornets had a short two-game winning streak come to an end with
Friday’s 111-105 loss to the Lakers in the opener of a three-game homestand at
New Orleans Arena.
Tyson Chandler posted 22 points and 22 rebounds to become the first player
since Anthony Mason (12/11/96) to record at least 20 and 20 in a home game for
the Hornets, who played for the sixth and final time this season in New
Orleans. They were 3-3 at New Orleans Arena in 2006-07.
Chris Paul notched 28 points and 12 assists for the Hornets, who are 10th
overall in the Western Conference — just 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles
Clippers for the eighth spot in the standings.
The Hornets will also host the Dallas Mavericks on the stand and are 20-14 as
the host this season. In injury news for the Hornets, Peja Stojakovic (back
surgery) is doubtful for Sunday’s game. Stojakovic, who is averaging 17.8
points this season, hasn’t played since a November 24 loss to Minnesota.
Sunday’s battle between the Rockets and Hornets is the third of four meetings
this season. New Orleans/Oklahoma City has won both matchups so far and six of
the last seven meetings. Both teams will square off again on April 14.
Houston has lost two of its last three at the Hornets.