Opinions around the NBA are evolving on the Houston Rockets after they took a half-a-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies and clinching a playoff spot. With Dwight Howard working his way back in to the rotation the Rockets rose in league power rankings helping James Harden's MVP candidacy continue to build steam.
Tonight the Rockets look maintain on-court momentum by defeating a faltering Toronto Raptors squad who went from early season darlings to a team looking to limp to the finish line of the season. Seemingly all of the Raptors success rests on the shoulders of all-star point guard Kyle Lowry who has slumped since the all-star break and admitted to a run of poor form on the court. He's out tonight giving way to Greivis Vásquez.
The Rockets have their own bad news to contend with as starting point guard Patrick Beverley has been ruled out for the season. Houston is still in the early stages of experimenting with a combo of Jason Terry - Pablo Prigioni - Nick Johnson. At the same time the Rockets continue to ween Dwight Howard in to playoff form by holding him to a minutes limit.
This is the second and final meeting between the two teams. The Rockets won the February contest 98 - 76.
A win tonight would be the Rockets fifth straight victory.