After a sloppy performance in a loss to the top team in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets look to bounce back against an opponent they’ve dominated.
The Rockets try to beat the Charlotte Bobcats for a seventh consecutive time when the teams meet at Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday night.
Houston (42-24), second in the Southwest Division and third in the West, committed a season-high 23 turnovers in a 102-96 loss to the conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Rockets, whose 12-game home winning streak was snapped, average 14.3 turnovers.
“We turned it over 23 times,” coach Rick Adelman said. “You can’t go out there and turn the ball over to a good team 23 times and get 10 less shots than they did. We shot 51 percent but that doesn’t help if we turn it over like we did. It’s just a game where we didn’t play well in the second half.
“They put a little bit more pressure on us on the wings and on the ball and we didn’t respond to it very good, which is something that we’ve got to work at, and talk about and get better at because that’s what’s going to happen in the playoffs.”
The Rockets will look to begin improving in that area against the Bobcats (28-36), a team they’ve outscored by an average of 18.0 points during their six-game win streak in the series. Houston won the last meeting 99-78 at home Feb. 22.
Houston could also use a better performance from Ron Artest. The forward shot 4-for-16 from the field, missed all eight of his 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points and six turnovers Wednesday. He averaged 20.4 points on 48.8 percent from the floor over the previous 14 games - 11 wins.
That stretch included a 26-point, 9-for-15 shooting performance in the last matchup with Charlotte.
The Bobcats, averaging a league-low 93.1 points, are looking to rebound from Tuesday’s 100-86 loss at San Antonio that halted their season-high six-game winning streak.
“We were putting ourselves in a position to win and we let it slip,” said Bobcats guard Raja Bell, who had 16 points and five rebounds. “It (stinks), but we’ve got more games to play so we’ve got to get back and get ready.”
Despite having their run come to an end, the Bobcats are tied with New Jersey for 10th in the East, one-half game behind eighth-place Milwaukee for the final playoff spot.
Bell, held to nine points by Houston on Feb. 22, is a big reason Charlotte is in contention for its first playoff spot since joining the NBA for the 2004-05 season. He’s averaging 16.6 points on 53.2 percent shooting over the last five games, and 13.5 points since being acquired in a six-player trade with Phoenix on Dec. 11.
Bell scored 9.6 points per game in 22 contests for the Suns prior to the deal.