(Sports Network) - A late season swoon doomed the Houston Rockets playoff
hopes and they will close the season tonight by hosting the New Orleans
Hornets in Space City.
The Rockets looked like they were on their way to a playoff berth under first
year head coach Kevin McHale before losing seven of eight. Their latest
setback, a 97-88 loss in Miami, officially eliminated Houston from the
postseason for a third straight year.
Chandler Parsons netted a career-high 23 points for the Rockets and Goran
Dragic donated 16, but Houston's slim playoff hopes came to an end despite the
fact that Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were sidelined.
"It's frustrating, especially when we lost six in a row. We have to learn
something from that, and hopefully next year we can come back stronger,"
Dragic said of not making the postseason.
Injuries and illness to the Rockets starting backcourt of Kevin Martin and
Kyle Lowry likely sealed the team's fate. The two guards will have missed a
combined 45 games after both sit out the season finale.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have closed strongly and won for the sixth time in
eight games on Tuesday in Oakland when Marco Belinelli's layup with 1.5
seconds remaining sent the Hornets past the Warriors, 83-81, on Tuesday.
Golden State was up 81-76 with two minutes to play, but didn't score again and
a three-pointer from Belinelli, an ex-Warrior, and a layup from Greivis
Vasquez preceded the Italian's game-winner.
Belinelli finished with a game-high 23 points and Carl Landry added 14 for the
New Orleans has won seven of its past nine against the Rockets, including a
105-99 overtime win in the Big Easy a week ago.
Eric Gordon, the key acquisition in the offseason blockbuster that sent Chris
Paul to the LA Clippers, scored 27 points in that one. Gordon, however, was
able to play in just nine games for the Hornets this season after undergoing
arthroscopic knee surgery.
The Sports Network