(SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets have stumbled
since a 3-0 start to the season and hope Monday's matchup versus the Toronto
Raptors will get them back on track.
The Rockets have lost two in a row and three of their last four games, and
dropped another game to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers defeated
Houston at home on Nov. 4, then registered a 107-94 road victory Saturday.
Los Angeles outscored the Rockets by a 40-18 margin to turn a 12-point third-
quarter deficit into a 95-85 lead with 3:45 left to play.
Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with 23 points and Howard totaled 21 and
eight rebounds. Patrick Beverley and James Harden scored 19 and 12 points,
respectively, for the Rockets, who shot 45 percent for the game and committed
18 turnovers, leading to 27 L.A. points.
Houston has failed to reach 100 points in back-to-back games after hitting the
century mark in its previous four contests.
"We just stopped playing the way we had played to get the lead," Howard said
of the team's second-half letdown. "We had to continue to do things that got
us the lead and we didn't do that tonight and they capitalized on it."
Houston had won five consecutive home games following a loss. The Rockets will
close out a three-game homestand Monday before heading east to visit
Philadelphia and New York.
Meanwhile, the Raptors halted a three-game slide with Saturday's 115-91
victory over the listless Utah Jazz. Tyler Hansbrough netted 23 points and
grabbed seven rebounds off the bench, while DeMar DeRozan scored 18 points and
Jonas Valanciunas followed with 14.
"We started out playing the game the right way and we finished the game the
right way," Toronto head coach Dwane Casey said. "Hansbrough was a handful.
Efforts like his tonight are contagious."
Rudy Gay added 11 points and a season-high five assists.
The Raptors scored 100 points for the first time this season and will try to
stop a two-game road slide against the Rockets. They will also visit Memphis
on this quick western road trip and were 16-16 last season when scoring 100 or
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is probable Monday with a sprained right ankle and
had nine points in the win over Utah.
Toronto and Houston split two meetings a season ago. The Raptors, though, have
dropped six straight and 15 of their 18 trips to Space City.
The Sports Network