Lowry returns to Houston as Raptors visit Rockets
(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 more points.
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.