The Houston Rockets couldn’t overcome a poor shooting effort against the defending champs. A similar effort Tuesday, though, might be enough for the cold-shooting Rockets to defeat their next opponent.
Riding its longest losing streak in 28 months, Houston hosts a Washington Wizards team trying to snap a franchise-worst 15-game slide.
Leading the Los Angeles Lakers by seven after the first quarter Saturday, the Rockets (36-36) missed 10 consecutive field-goal attempts as Los Angeles went on a 20-0 run en route to a 109-101 victory. Houston is hitting 39.4 percent of its shots during its four-game slide, and it hasn’t dropped five straight since a six-game skid from Nov. 13-23, 2007.
“Right now, we’ve got to make jump shots,” coach Rick Adelman told the Rockets’ official Web site.
Although they are well out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, the Rockets could benefit from a healthy lineup for the final 10 games. Shane Battier(notes) has missed the last four games with a hyperextended left knee and Kevin Martin(notes) sat for the second straight game Saturday with a sore left shoulder. Both players are listed as day-to-day.
Facing the lowly Wizards, the Rockets might not need the two to return.
Washington (21-51) arrives in Houston in search of its first victory since an 89-85 win at NBA-worst New Jersey on Feb. 28.
“Obviously, it’s not any fun,” forward Mike Miller(notes) said following Saturday’s 103-87 home loss to Utah. “It’s frustrating, but no one feels sorry for us. I don’t think you’ll see Houston or New Orleans (on Wednesday) feel sorry for us and let us win.”
Washington has dropped nine straight on the road, but it snapped a six-game slide in Houston in its last visit to the Toyota Center - an 89-87 victory on Dec. 29, 2008. The Rockets had won the previous seven meetings overall.
Luis Scola(notes) has been one of the few bright spots during Houston’s current slide, averaging 22.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. He had 23 points and 10 boards in a 96-88 victory in the nation’s capital March 9, and could have another big game against Washington, which was been outrebounded by an average of 8.5 over its last four contests.
“Their bigs mauled our guys,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said after the Jazz shot 59.1 percent and outrebounded his team by 11 on Saturday.
Shaun Livingston(notes), Alonzo Gee(notes) and Earl Boykins(notes) will likely see more playing time in Washington’s backcourt with Randy Foye(notes) possibly out for the season with a strained ligament in his left wrist. On Monday, Saunders said the fourth-year guard will be re-evaluated in 10 days.
Rockets rookie guard Jermaine Taylor(notes) could be in the starting five Tuesday after posting season highs of 15 points, five rebounds and three assists in his first career start Saturday. Taylor, a second-round pick by Washington, was traded to Houston in a draft day deal.