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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 3/9/16

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Preview: Houston At Philadelphia

When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Houston Rockets are struggling to hang onto the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference and can’t afford to overlook any opponent, even the team with the worst record in the NBA. The Rockets will try to get back to .500 and maintain a gap over the ninth-place Utah Jazz when they visit the NBA-worst Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Houston is still struggling to find consistency on both ends of the court but is coming off one of its most impressive wins – a 113-107 triumph at Toronto on Sunday. The Rockets snapped the Raptors’ 12-game home winning streak despite some seemingly indifferent defense by stars Dwight Howard and James Harden. “We’re gonna fight,” Houston interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff assured reporters. “It doesn’t matter who it is or the situation is, we’re not gonna give in.” The 76ers don’t lack fight but are having some trouble getting healthy bodies on the floor with young frontcourt stars Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jahlil Okafor (shin) ailing.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), CSN Philadelphia

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (31-32): Houston has lost 10 of its last 16 games and began the five-game road trip with a 108-100 setback at Chicago before recovering to knock off the Raptors. The Rockets need to avoid looking past the 76ers with a tough back-to-back at Boston and Charlotte closing the trip over the weekend and the Jazz breathing down their necks in the West. Harden has provided some lowlights on the defensive end of late but continues to make up for it on the other side of the floor and is averaging 38.3 points in the last three contests.

ABOUT THE 76ERS (8-55): Philadelphia’s latest losing streak hit 12 straight with a 103-98 setback at Miami on Sunday, when a six-point, fourth-quarter lead was not quite enough. The 76ers are building for the future around Noel and Okafor and hope to have the two of them back on Wednesday, with Okafor the most likely to take the floor. “It’s just a significant bruise at this stage,” Brown told reporters on Sunday of Okafor’s shin contusion. “It’s not something that we’re overly concerned with. … I don’t expect him to be out very long.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Rockets G Corey Brewer is 7-of-13 from 3-point range after going 1-of-11 from beyond the arc in the previous six contests.

2. 76ers G Nik Stauskas (illness) and G Kendall Marshall (illness) also sat out Sunday and are day-to-day.

3. Houston needed 50 points, nine rebounds and eight assists from Harden to squeeze past Philadelphia at home 116-114 on Nov. 27.

PREDICTION: Rockets 115, 76ers 108