Toronto (30-40) at Houston (40-29)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Wed Mar 24, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Raptors look to keep their fading playoffs alive as they visit the Houston Rockets.

Toronto’s slim shot a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference got harder with the Raptors’ 95-86 loss at Memphis on Tuesday night.

Vince Carter, who led Toronto with 30 points, keyed a fourth-quarter rally, but the Raptors could get no closer than six.

Donyell Marshall finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Morris Peterson scored 12 and Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose finished with 10 each.

Toronto is now in 10th place, one game behind Cleveland for the East’s eighth and final playoff spot, and Tuesday’s defeat was the first of a three-game road trip.

“We’ve got to play with a sense of urgency,” Rose said. “We really want to get into the playoffs.”

Houston snapped a three-game losing streak with a 93-85 overtime win at Portland on Monday night, as Yao Ming had 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets

Francis added 22 points for the Rockets after being fined $25,000 earlier in the day for cursing during a live television interview at halftime Sunday and for criticizing the officials.

The Rockets wasted a 17-point lead in a loss the night before at Sacramento.

“That was all I could think about for a while,” Francis said. “But nobody on our team was unconfident. Coach told us, ‘Execute!’ and we did.”

Yao started the overtime with a slam over Portland’s Theo Ratliff, the NBA’s leading shot blocker, and the Rockets were on their way.

“This was very tiring victory,” Yao said. “The reason we played so well in the overtime is because our defense was so outstanding.”

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