(Sports Network) - Houston's current road trip may prove to be detrimental to the team's chances of reaching the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
The Rockets didn't get their three-game trek off to a good start in Miami and look to stay in the playoff hunt this evening against a team that has nothing to compete for, the New Jersey Nets, at the Prudential Center. Currently 2 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference, the Rockets had a five-game winning streak stopped with a 125-119 loss to the Heat on Sunday.
All three Miami studs finished with 30-plus points, as LeBron James led the way with 33 points, Chris Bosh scored 31 and Dwyane Wade netted 30. Kevin Martin fell a point shy of reaching that mark with 29 points to lead Houston, which lost for just the fourth time in 16 tries. Luis Scola ended with 28 points and Kyle Lowry contributed 25 and nine assists.
"It's a tough loss," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "(The Heat) played their tails off. If there was anything that hurt us, it was their penetration and their rebounding."
Houston was beaten on the glass by a 48-33 margin. It will also visit a tough Philadelphia team on the road swing and is 16-21 away from the Toyota Center this season. The Rockets have still won seven of the past 10 contests as the visitor. Lowry is questionable for tonight with a sprained left foot and has scored in double figures in a career-high 14 straight games, averaging 19.3 points and 7.9 assists in that span.
Martin has been doing some fine scoring of his own lately with seven 20-point outings in a row. The Rockets are 31-19 when he hits that mark.
New Jersey has dropped two straight and six of seven games, and is coming off Saturday's 98-87 loss at Atlanta in the finale of a three-game road trip.
Anthony Morrow poured in a season-high tying 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting, Sasha Vujacic had 13 and both Kris Humphries and Johan Petro scored 12 points for the Nets, who are still without All-Star point guard Deron Williams. Williams has missed five straight games and is nursing a strained tendon in his right wrist.
The Nets trailed 57-31 at halftime and completed the trek at 1-2.
"It was very tough," Morrow said of losing to the Hawks. "I don't think it was an effort thing on our part. I think defensively we had some mistakes. They just capitalized on all of them. That's what good teams are going to do when you make mistakes. I think we can't get down in those deficits like that."
New Jersey is back in Newark where it sports an 18-18 mark this season. Nets center Brook Lopez is probable for Tuesday's game versus the Rockets with a balky right arm.
Houston defeated New Jersey, 123-108, on Feb. 26 this season in Space City, as Martin finished with a game-high 30 points in that one. The Rockets have won nine in a row and 12 of the previous 13 meetings with New Jersey, losers in seven straight as the host in this series.