The Brooklyn Nets are looking to re-establish their recent momentum, while the Houston Rockets are hoping they've already begun doing just that.
The host Rockets may be feeling better about their chances Saturday night considering they're going for a 12th straight victory against the Nets.
Brooklyn (26-17) had pulled within one game of Atlantic Division-leading New York by winning 10 of 11, but it couldn't continue to close that gap Friday. The Nets shot 40.8 percent from the field -- 3 of 17 from beyond the arc -- while being routed 101-77 at Memphis.
"They just came out and played better than us," guard Deron Williams said. "They played tougher than us. They outrebounded us and out-toughed us. This is a game where we didn't come out and play the way we were supposed to play."
The Rockets (23-22) were also enjoying success in the early part of this month, having won 10 of 12 before dropping a season-high seven in a row. They've since recovered to win two of their last three, and they were rarely threatened while pouring in 11 of 21 from 3-point range in Friday's 100-82 victory at New Orleans.
"We played the right way and guys made shots," said James Harden, who scored 30. "There were a lot of things that really put us over the top."
Facing Brooklyn may be an ideal way for Houston to build on that performance. The Rockets have won 14 of the past 15 meetings with the Nets, including 11 in a row while averaging 107.6 points and shooting 45.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Harden has been the spark behind Houston's high-scoring offense this season, and he will be the Rockets' lone representative when they host next month's All-Star game. He has connected on half of his 32 attempts from the floor and all 17 of his free throws over the past two games, totaling 53 points.
Harden Leads Rockets Past Nets
ESPN.com | Jan 27