After learning one of their best players was out for the season, the Houston Rockets may be on the verge of getting one back.
Houston (11-15) beat Memphis 103-87 on Friday night for its third win in four games, hours after it was announced that Yao Ming(notes) would miss the rest of the season due to a stress fracture in his left ankle.
Brooks, named the NBA’s most improved player last season, has missed 21 games with a sprained ankle but could return to face the Kings. Brooks was averaging 16.4 points and 5.4 assists before getting hurt Nov. 6.
Martin, who spent his first five-plus years in the league with the Kings (5-19), has scored 22.3 points - 4.5 higher than his career average - in three games against his former team. He had 39 points in his first trip back to Sacramento, helping the Rockets to a 117-107 win April 12.
The Rockets are allowing 104.7 points per game - among the worst in the NBA - but held the Grizzlies to a season-low 33 points in the first half. Memphis shot 36.5 percent overall from the field - the lowest mark by a Houston opponent.
“We are who we are and we just have to keep getting better and working every day at it,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman told the team’s official website. “We’re not going to lead the league in defense but we certainly can be better than who we are. If we’re running our stuff offensively then we’re hard to guard. That’s how we’re going to win.”
The Kings have lost 18 of 20 after opening the season with three wins in four games. They fell 102-87 at Oklahoma City on Friday night despite solid efforts from two of their best young players.
“I think DeMarcus is getting better every game,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said of the rookie, who is averaging 16.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last three games. “He’s putting together more good minutes, and that’s certainly a big start.”
Evans, who leads the team with 17.0 points per game, has recorded 22 in back-to-back contests after sitting out Tuesday’s 118-105 loss in Houston with a foot injury.
Sacramento has lost 12 straight games when allowing opponents to score 100-plus points.
The Rockets have won 11 of 15 meetings since the start of the 2006-07 season.