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Reply To: NBA • Tuesday Service Plays • 12/8/15

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Preview: Houston At Brooklyn

When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The Houston Rockets are beginning to turn things around and have a chance to get back to .500 while extending their winning streak to four when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The Rockets are winners of five of their last six but are beginning a stretch with five of six games on the road.

Houston’s poor start got coach Kevin McHale fired, and the team seems to be responding to replacement J.B. Bickerstaff. “Defensively, we’re playing really good,” star guard James Harden told reporters after a 120-113 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday in which the Rockets held a 29-16 lead over the first quarter and got stops down the stretch to thwart a rally. The Nets aren’t much of a threat to challenge that defense and enter the week 29th in the NBA in scoring at an average of 95.6 points. Brooklyn failed to hit the century mark in the last six games and is 2-4 in that span, including a 114-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), YES (Brooklyn)

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (10-11): Houston’s defense is always better when Dwight Howard is healthy and productive, and the former All-Star showed off with 22 points and 18 rebounds on Saturday while slowing DeMarcus Cousins on the defensive end. “My concern is doing whatever I can to help this team win and just working on trying to win sets of games, right now every three games, and that was our mission (against the Kings),” Howard told reporters. “It’s never a battle between me and somebody else, it’s whatever I can do to help this team win.” Howard posted 20 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks against Brooklyn on Nov. 11, but it wasn’t enough in a 106-98 loss.

ABOUT THE NETS (5-15): Brook Lopez battled with Howard in the Nov. 11 meeting and collected 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the victory. The veteran big man keeps putting up strong numbers but Brooklyn is having trouble finding the win column with back-to-back losses dropping it 10 games below .500. The Nets hit five 3-pointers to Golden State’s 14 on Sunday and sit last in the NBA with an average of 4.7 made 3-pointers and a 29.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc while the opposition goes off at a 37.7 clip.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Nets F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) is out and will be scheduled for surgery, while G Sergey Karasev (ankle) and C Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) are both questionable.

2. Houston G Patrick Beverley scored in double figures in each of the last four games.

3. Brooklyn F Thaddeus Young posted a double-double in eight of the last 11 games.

PREDICTION: Nets 101, Rockets 99