Houston (39-24) at Phoenix (48-14)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 11:00 pm EDT Mon Mar 12, 2007
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The Phoenix Suns try to sweep their second five-game homestand of the season and continue their success against Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets when the teams meet Monday.

Phoenix (48-14) won all five games of their Jan. 5-13 homestand, which was part of a franchise-record 17-game winning streak that spanned Dec. 29-Jan. 28.

The Suns, whose 25-6 home record is second in the NBA behind Dallas’ 30-3 mark, look to complete another perfect set of home games after winning their fourth contest in a row at the US Airways Center, 104-103 over New Orleans on Friday.

The victory was also Phoenix’s ninth in 10 games since the All-Star break, with the lone loss a 99-94 defeat at Philadelphia on Feb. 28.

The Suns and Mavericks are the only two teams in the league to have already clinched playoff berths.

Phoenix managed to beat the Hornets on Friday despite allowing 10 of the game’s final 11 points.

“Nine and one, it’s pretty good,” said Suns guard Raja Bell, who is 10-for-18 from 3-point range in his last two games. “You can’t expect to be perfect all the time. Having said that, we do need to continue to get better and that’s what the rest of the regular season is for.

“But I’m not going to hang my head and sit here and say we’re not playing good basketball. We won the game and we are trying to get better every time out.”

Phoenix has defeated Houston five straight times, outscoring the Rockets by an average of 16.6 points in those contests. The Suns have not lost to Houston since a 98-97 defeat on April 9, 2005.

Steve Nash is averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 assists in the last five games with the Rockets, including a 21-point, 14-assist performance in a 100-91 win at Houston (39-24) on Jan. 17 - the last meeting between the clubs.

Yao and Tracy McGrady both missed that game due to injuries. Yao was recovering from a broken right leg that sidelined him for 32 contests, while McGrady had a sore lower back.

Yao appeared to be fully recovered Sunday when he had 37 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in the Rockets’ 103-92 win over Orlando.

“Actually it’s getting better every day,” said the All-Star center, who is averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in four games since coming back from the injury. “But my turnovers are still too high and my rebounds are still too low.

“I don’t know how long it will be before I make it all the way back. I don’t have experience with this kind of injury, so I don’t know how long to say.”

McGrady, who had 19 points and 10 assists Sunday, is averaging 27.3 points in 22 games since the last meeting with the Suns.

The Rockets have won three straight games overall, with all of the victories coming by double-digit margins. They have held their last six opponents under 100 points, posting a 4-2 record in that span.

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Monday, Mar 12