Houston goes for season split vs. Dallas

Houston goes for season split vs. Dallas
January 29, 2014, 1:45 pm
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(USA Today Images)

The Rockets play their fourth straight game against a division foe when they play at the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday night, Houston beat San Antonio 97-90 to claim its third win over the Spurs and its eighth win in 12 division games.

A win in Dallas would clinch a winning season against division foes and they haven't won more than half of their division games since they were 9-7 in the 2009-2010 season. Over the last three seasons, Houston was just 17-29 against New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas and San Antonio.

The Rockets will also finish their season series with Dallas, hoping for a win to capture a split of their four games. They are already finished with Memphis, having split those four games and it's possible that four teams from the division could be playoff bound.

Currently San Antonio (second), Houston (fifth) and Dallas (eighth) are among the top eight teams in the west. Memphis is currently ninth, but they have also gone 6-1 since defensive player of the year, Marc Gasol, returned from his knee injury. That stretch includes two wins against Houston, and one each over Oklahoma City and Portland.

The Rockets' last two games with Dallas have been very disappointing losses for Houston. On Nov. 20, the Rockets held a six-point lead with just under three minutes remaining, before being outscored 11-2 down the stretch. Houston missed its final six shots and lost 123-120.

Last month, Houston held an 11-point lead late in the first half, but a 21-4 Dallas run, turned the game around and the Mavericks won comfortably. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki averaged 33 points in those two Dallas wins, making 24-of-38 shots (63 percent).

In their last matchup, the Rockets played without leading scorer, James Harden, and could be without him again. Harden missed Tuesday night's win over the Spurs with a bruised left thumb and is a game-time decision. Dwight Howard has been tremendous in three games against Dallas, averaging 25 points per game on 61.9 percent shooting and has grabbed 14 rebounds per game.