The Houston Rockets can see their playoff hopes slipping away. They’re doing all they can to hold on to them.
Houston will look to inch closer to a postseason spot when it plays host to the Orlando Magic.
The Rockets are 1 1/2 games behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They know they’ll need to play well over their final six regular-season games to have any hope of reaching the postseason.
“We’re going to have to play like this every night,” Posey said. “We’re still in the thick of things.”
As the Rockets try to move closer to the playoffs, they’ll look to take advantage of the fact that Orlando star Tracy McGrady is at less than full strength.
The NBA’s leading scorer has been hampered by a strained rib muscle on his right side. Against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, he did not start and was limited to 25 minutes before sitting out the fourth quarter.
He finished with 12 points in the Magic’s 108-90 loss, snapping his franchise-record of 45 straight games with at least 20 points.
McGrady, who was injured in Tuesday’s 118-105 loss to San Antonio, was getting X-rays after the game and did not speak to reporters.
“I decided to let him play as long as he was moving freely,” Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. “But if I saw him wince, I was going to take him out.”
The Magic, who are seventh in the Eastern Conference, expect McGrady to be healthy by the time the playoffs start. Rivers said he could even play Sunday.
“Yeah, we hope so,” Rivers said about McGrady’s playing status. “We can’t afford to have him out because we’re just not good enough.”
The Magic have lost three straight.
STANDINGS: Magic - 4th place, 8 GB, Atlantic Division. Rockets - 5th place, 18 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Magic - McGrady, 32.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 5.6 apg. Rockets - Francis, 21.5 ppg and 6.2 apg; Yao, 8.2 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Rockets, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 8; Rockets, 91-81. At Orlando, Fla., Yao scored 17 of his team-high 23 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds as Houston broke an 11-year losing streak in Orlando. The last time the Rockets won a regular-season game in Orlando was Dec. 22, 1991. McGrady led the Magic with a game-high 27 points.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Magic - 15-22 on the road; Rockets - 25-12 at home.
INJURIES: Magic - F-C Pat Burke (knee); F Grant Hill (ankle). Rockets - C Jason Collier (foot); F Bostjan Nachbar (groin).