(Sports Network) - With Yao Ming now officially out of the equation for the 2010-11 season, the Houston Rockets will get back to work by visiting the Sacramento Kings in the opener of a three-game road trip.
The Rockets have been playing better lately and won for the third time in four games on Friday when Kevin Martin scored 34 points, and Kyle Lowry supplied 17 points and a career-high 18 assists on Friday in Houston's 103-87 victory over Memphis at Toyota Center.
Luis Scola added 23 points and nine rebounds while Shane Battier chipped in with 17 points, 10 boards and five assists for the Rockets, who have won three of their last four.
"We just go out and play aggressive," Lowry said. "We do a very good job of scouting them. We know what we can get. We just play to our strengths."
Houston's decisive win came after it had found out earlier in the day that Yao was lost for the season with a stress fracture in his left ankle. The former All-Star wound up playing in just five games this year after missing the entire 2009-10 campaign following surgery on his left foot, averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in slightly more than 18 minutes per contest.
The Rockets, however, are hoping to have dynamic point guard Aaron Brooks, who was averaging 16.4 points and 5.4 assists before getting hurt on Nov. 6, back in the lineup tonight in Sacramento. The NBA's most improved player last season, Brooks has missed the last 21 games with a sprained ankle but is listed as probable for tonight's contest.
The Kings, who are opening up a five-game homestand tonight, came up winless on a three-game road trip, the last of which was a 102-87 setback to Oklahoma City on Friday. Kevin Durant scored 24 points to lead six players in double- figures in that one.
Tyreke Evans scored 22 to pace the Kings, who have lost 12 of 13 overall and eight straight on the road. DeMarcus Cousins and Beno Udrih each had 19, and Cousins pulled down a game-high 16 boards in defeat.
"They just had more energy than us," Evans said. "They killed us on the boards and second-chance points. That's pretty much it."
Martin, of course, spent his first five-plus NBA seasons in Sacramento with the Kings, before being sent to south Texas last February in a deal that shipped Carl Landry out West. He had 39 points in his first trip back to Sacramento last year, leading the Rockets to a 117-107 triumph in April. Overall, Houston has won six of the past eight meetings in the series.
For more on the Rockets, check out The Dream Shake.