Houston (21-16) at Boston (20-20)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Jan 14, 2004
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The Houston Rockets are playing better of late, but don’t tell that to coach Jeff Van Gundy.

The Rockets will try to pacify their hard-to-please coach while avenging Sunday’s loss to the Boston Celtics as they visit FleetCenter.

Houston improved to 7-2 on the road against Eastern Conference teams with a 93-80 win at Washington on Tuesday night. But Van Gundy pointed to the team’s 21 turnovers as a sore point.

“We feel we have a good team, but having a good team and having talent doesn’t mean (anything) if you’re not consistent,” Van Gundy said. “Everybody in the league has talent. We just have to get better.”

Van Gundy was equally mixed in his postgame comments concerning star guard Steve Francis, who finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, 10 of the Rockets’ season-high 27 assists, but also committed seven turnovers.

“And three turnovers shy of a quadruple-double. That would’ve been very special,” Van Gundy said. “Yes, he did a good job. He had many implosions with the ball, but other than that he shot a high percentage and made good plays for everybody.”

Van Gundy also wants a better defensive effort than the Rockets put forth in Sunday’s 97-93 loss to Boston.

“If you’re going to defend a team like (Boston) effectively, it starts with making multiple efforts on many possessions,” Van Gundy said. “We didn’t even get a first effort. If you need multiple efforts and you don’t get a first effort, it makes it very difficult to defend.”

Boston had its three-game winning streak snapped in a 111-103 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday night despite a season-high 33 points from Ricky Davis.

Paul Pierce added 22 points for the Celtics, and is averaging 25.7 points in January.

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