Houston at Charlotte
It has been a brutal stretch for the Houston Rockets, who have lost seven straight while navigating a perilous sequence. They will attempt to right the ship Monday afternoon in Charlotte. Houston's latest setback, a 92-79 loss in Minnesota on Saturday, was its eighth game in 12 days, with six of them on the road. Including the visit to the Bobcats, four of the next six games are also away from home for a team that has plummeted to eighth in the Western Conference standings.
At the very least, the Rockets get a chance to take on the worst home team in the NBA on Monday. Charlotte continued that trend Saturday with a 97-93 loss to Sacramento, falling to 5-16 at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats' 14 straight defeats at home are just five shy of the NBA record, set by Dallas in the 1993-94 season. Ramon Sessions led five Charlotte players in double figures with 16 points off the bench against the Kings.
TV: 2 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet Houston, SportSouth (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (21-21): Prior to the seven-game slide, Houston had won five straight and 10 of 12 to establish itself as a player in the West. The schedule has just depleted the team of any semblance of that once-thriving club. "We're so out of character right now," coach Kevin McHale said after the loss to the Timberwolves. It showed in the numbers. The Rockets shot 32.1 percent (25-for-78) and committed 20 turnovers in matching their lowest scoring output this season. Leading scorer James Harden was held to 18 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (10-30): The home woes are grating on the players. "It's tough," guard Kemba Walker said. "We've been losing some pretty close games, and we definitely need a home win. It's been a long time." Charlotte's 14-game home losing streak goes back to Nov. 21, when it needed a late jumper by Sessions to top lowly Toronto by a point. The Bobcats would split their next two games and sat at a surprising 7-5. They've gone 3-25 since and have also lost their last three games against Houston, all by double digits.
1. Harden is shooting 25 percent (15-for-60) over his last three games and is 8-for-40 (20 percent) from 3-point range in his last five.
2. Chandler Parsons, who ranks second on the Rockets in scoring to Harden, was limited to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting against Minnesota.
3. C Brendan Hawyood had a season-high five blocks for Charlotte on Saturday.
PREDICTION: Charlotte 82, Houston 81.