Red Hot Rockets Host Pacers

The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers are coming off two of their biggest respective wins of the season, but for very different reasons.

The Rockets look to continue their impressive run on Tuesday when they host an Indiana club trying to continue to get back on track.

Houston (42-25) has won six of its last seven games, including a 124-74 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Oddsmakers have made Houston -10 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 192.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Houston -10 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

It was the Rockets' most lopsided road win all-time and the franchise's second-largest margin of victory overall.

Yao Ming had 24 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double in eight games since returning from a broken right leg. The center was hurt for the Houston's 81-76 loss to the Pacers (30-35) on Dec. 26, but had 38 points and 10 rebounds the last time he faced them.

Tracy McGrady scored 21 points Sunday while Chuck Hayes and Juwan Howard also had double-doubles for Houston, which shot 53.3 percent (49-for-92) from the field and held a 54-8 scoring advantage in the paint.

"I've never been a part of beating a team by 50 points,'' said McGrady, who had eight assists. "Regardless of the score, we kept playing. There's only a few games left to prepare ourselves for the playoffs.''

Indiana is struggling to hold on to a playoff spot after finally snapping an 11-game losing streak Saturday with a 113-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers avoided matching a franchise record for consecutive defeats.

"We're in position where every game is a must-win,'' said Pacers leading scorer Jermaine O'Neal, who was held to 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting, well below his 19.6 season mark. "Every game has become critical to our team because we've allowed other teams to get back into the playoff race.

"It's one day,'' O'Neal said. "It means we got a win, and we're one step closer to getting back on pace with what we originally set out to do.''

The Pacers are going for their 10th straight postseason berth, but have fallen into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, just one-half game ahead of the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks.

Six Pacers scored in double figures in Saturday's victory. Troy Murphy led the way with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and Mike Dunleavy had 21 for the Pacers, who shot 53.2 percent (41 of 77) as a team.

"I think we really needed a game where we came out here and hit shots and had an easy win,'' Murphy said. "We needed to win, and we needed to win this way.''

Point guard Jamaal Tinsley set up many of those shots with 14 assists and not a single turnover. The Pacers will now try to end a seven-game road skid, during which they have averaged just 83.0 points.

Marquis Daniels (sore left knee) and David Harrison (left shoulder) are expected to miss this matchup for Indiana, while Jeff Foster (back spasms) is day-to-day and O'Neal (left knee) and Tinsley (left leg) are probable. The Rockets will likely be without Bonzi Wells (sore foot).

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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