The Houston Rockets’ pursuit of a playoff berth hit a snag in their last game against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Rockets will try to bounce back against one of the East’s worst clubs Tuesday night when they visit the New Jersey Nets looking for a 10th consecutive win in the series.
Houston (38-35) climbed into ninth place in the Western Conference thanks in part to a season high-tying five-game winning streak March 14-23.
That run, though, came to an end Sunday with a 125-119 loss at Miami, and the Rockets fell 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis after the Grizzlies defeated San Antonio 111-104 that night.
Houston, which has won 12 of 16 while averaging 109.1 points, trailed for 7:12 of the first quarter—2:09 more than it trailed in its previous five games combined.
“Now the challenge is responding in New Jersey,” coach Rick Adelman told the Rockets’ official website. “We gave what we could and came up short and now you’ve got to regroup and try to come back and get that game Tuesday and go from there.”
“We gave it all we had and we played hard but we didn’t execute well enough to win,” said Martin, averaging 32.3 points over his last three. “We’ll work on that and then get the next two games on the road trip.”
Houston, which ends its three-game trek Wednesday night against Philadelphia, has lost three of four away from home after winning six straight.
He had 23 and seven, respectively, while Martin added 30 points in a 123-108 win Feb. 26 - Houston’s 12th in 13 games against the Nets.
The Rockets have taken seven straight road meetings in the series by an average of 12.9 points while limiting the Nets to 82.7 per game.
New Jersey (23-49) suffered its sixth defeat in seven games Saturday night, 98-87 at Atlanta. The Nets are averaging 89.7 points over those seven contests.
“They never quit,” coach Avery Johnson said. “Our second half was something to behold, to come from way back on the road. The guys were battling. … But there are no moral victories.”