Houston (6-10) at Dallas (10-6)

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Temp: 89° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Thu Dec 2, 2004
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The Houston Rockets try to avoid matching their longest losing streak from all of last season when they face a Dallas Mavericks squad that has dominated this in-state rivalry the last few years.

Houston saw its skid reach four games Tuesday with a 93-72 home loss to the defending champion Detroit Pistons. The Rockets are averaging just 81 points during their losing streak, and are 29th in the NBA in scoring with 86.8 a contest.

Tuesday’s game marked the lowest point total of the season for Houston, which committed 19 turnovers and attempted 16 fewer field goals than Detroit. The 6-10 start is the Rockets’ worst since 1999-2000, a major disappointment for a club that was expected to compete for a championship this season after acquiring All-Star guard Tracy McGrady over the summer.

“We’re losing and it seems like it’s the same type of effort every night,” McGrady said. “It’s got to change because right now it’s pretty embarrassing.”

This is the worst losing streak for Houston since it dropped five in a row from March 29-April 6—their longest skid from 2003-04.

“I think it starts with me,” said coach Jeff Van Gundy, whose Rockets have lost eight of 11 overall. “I’m going to get a group that looks like they really want to play. I just haven’t provided that this year, and for that, I’m very apologetic to our fans.”

Houston will be trying to end its skid against Dallas, which has won 11 of the last 14 meetings in the series and seven of eight over the last two seasons. The Rockets have lost four straight at Dallas.

The Mavs lost for the fourth time in their last six games Tuesday, 107-89 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Avery Johnson, the hand-picked successor of Dallas coach Don Nelson, ran the game as if the job was already his. Nelson was there, too, but offered only suggestions. This was the first of about six such training sessions Nelson hopes to have.

“It felt great, you are just mad that you lost,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t sit well with me. … We have a very good basketball team here, but you didn’t see that tonight.”

The Mavs are 3-5 since opening the season 7-1 and already have lost three home games after dropping only five all of last season.

“This is probably the toughest loss of the season,” Dallas guard Jason Terry said.

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