NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 16th
(All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (54-27) at New Orleans Pelicans (33-48), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will have home-court advantage in
the first round of the playoffs, but before that, they will close out the
regular season Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center to face the New
The Rockets clinched the fourth seed in Monday's 104-98 home victory over the
San Antonio Spurs. That gave Houston a season-sweep of the vaunted Spurs and
also home-court over the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the
Western Conference playoffs.
"We fought hard for it. It took a little longer than I hoped but we knew we
had to get 54 wins and we got there with one to spare," Rockets coach Kevin
McHale said after Monday's win. "I'm glad we didn't have to wait until
Wednesday to try and get it."
How much time Houston's starters see remains unclear but they were magnificent
Chandler Parsons tallied 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for the
Rockets. Dwight Howard added 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting while pulling down
Terrence Jones finished with 20 points and 11 boards in the win, with James
Harden netting 16 points along with seven assists despite a 4-of-16
performance from the field. Patrick Beverley, Houston's fifth starter, added
The Pelicans snapped an eight-game losing streak on Monday with an unexpected
home win over the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder, who were still battling for
the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
New Orleans played without six of its top seven scorers this season, but that
one who played made a mighty difference.
Tyreke Evans stuffed the stat sheet, pouring in 41 points, nine rebounds and
eight assists in the Pelicans' surprising 101-89 win over the Thunder. Evans
shot 14-of-26 from the field and 12-of-16 from the free-throw line for New
"We've been short-handed all year," Evans said. "I wasn't supposed to play
tonight. My knee was bothering me, but I knew we needed a win bad. Coach
talked about finishing the season strong. That's what we wanted to do tonight.
It was a team effort."
Luke Babbitt donated 12 points off the bench, while Darius Miller and Alexis
Ajinca had 10 points.
Anthony Davis (back spasms) and Eric Gordon (knee tendinitis) were inactive
and will not play the rest of the season for New Orleans, while Brian Roberts
is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason
Smith had already been ruled out for the season.
The Rockets have won all three meetings this season with the Pelicans and two
straight as the visitor in this series. Houston is just 4-7 in its last 11
playing in the Big Easy.
04/16 10:29:35 ET