The Houston Rockets aren't making excuses for their depleted lineup.
They're too concerned about getting through a rough portion of the schedule and keeping pace in the crowded Western Conference playoff race.
Houston finishes a four-game homestand Monday night when the struggling Sacramento Kings try to improve their conference-worst road mark.
Despite missing Kyle Lowry the last nine games with a bacterial infection and former King Kevin Martin the last seven with a shoulder injury, the Rockets (26-23) have earned some big wins with Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee as the starting guards, defeating West-leading Oklahoma City on March 13 and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday to open their homestand.
Houston had a chance to knock off Dallas on Saturday and move into fifth place in the West, but instead lost for the first time in three games, 101-99 in OT.
"We battled hard out there, but we just could not get it,'' said coach Kevin McHale, whose team finished the night ninth in the standings.
With the fourth through 13th spots in the West separated by just a handful of games, the Rockets could certainly use Lowry and Martin in the mix. However, there is no timetable for either to return.
Still, the Rockets could make a run without their starters. Dragic is averaging 17.0 points and 9.4 assists with Lowry out, while Lee is chipping in 14.6 points per game in place of Martin.
Rookie Chandler Parsons recorded his second consecutive double-double on Saturday with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
"I feel we have a lot of players that can play," Luis Scola told the Rockets' official website. "Everybody has injuries and we do have them, too, but we just have to keep playing. ... we needed this one big time, now we have Sacramento coming up at home and we need that one even more."
That's especially true as Houston follows with matchups against the Mavericks, Memphis, Indiana, Chicago and the Lakers before closing out the season series with the Kings in Sacramento on April 8.
The Kings (17-31), meanwhile, are looking to get back into the win column as they make their final visit to Houston this season.
Sacramento has followed a three-game winning streak by dropping two straight, including Saturday's 111-108 loss at Golden State. The Kings, 4-21 on the road, committed 15 turnovers, including a critical miscue by rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas with the team trailing by one in the final seconds.
"Mistakes that we make, growing pains, we got to go through them,'' coach Keith Smart said. "Hopefully, these games will help us as we move forward.''
Improved play from Marcus Thornton could help the Kings end a four-game road losing streak. He has 32 total points on 13-of-33 shooting in the last two contests after averaging 30.3 in the previous three.
Thornton missed the only game against Houston this season - a 103-89 loss Jan. 13 - with a thigh injury.
Tyreke Evans finished with a team-high 27 points in that contest, but DeMarcus Cousins had just four with four rebounds as the Kings lost for the eighth time in 10 visits to Houston.
Former King Samuel Dalembert helped the Rockets win for the fifth time in six overall meetings with Sacramento with a season-high 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The Kings, who could be without forward Jason Thompson (sprained left ankle) for a second straight game, will also have to deal with newcomer Marcus Camby, who is averaging 5.0 points and 7.8 boards in four games since being acquired from Portland.
- Houston Rockets
- Sacramento Kings
- Kyle Lowry