(Sports Network) - The Houston Rockets carry both a two-game winning streak
and a heavy heart into Tuesday night when they host the Toronto Raptors at the
This will be the first game for the Rockets since head coach Kevin McHale's
daughter Sasha passed away on Saturday afternoon at the age of 23.
"We talked about it (Sunday)," said interim coach Kelvin Sampson, who is 4-4
since McHale took a leave of absence. "We've all gotten to know Kevin's
family. We see them around a lot. It's part of our family.
"Youngsters seem to be a lot more resilient than adults, whether it's a life
loss or a game. We walk in every day and know our leader isn't here. It's a
Sampson indicated the team would wear a black band on their jerseys to honor
The last time the Rockets took the floor on Friday, they exploded for 131
points and crushed the New York Knicks by 28. James Harden and Chandler
Parsons both scored over 30 and Jeremy Lin beat his old team with 13 points
and seven assists.
The Rockets play seven of their next nine in Houston. This mini winning streak
came at home and the Rockets might get the services of Carlos Delfino back on
Tuesday. The forward has missed the last five games with a strained groin and
his availability for Tuesday will be a game-time decision.
The Raptors will be led on Tuesday night by Kyle Lowry, who will play his
first game against his former team. Lowry was traded by Houston to the Raptors
in the offseason after a solid 2011-12 season which saw him butt heads with
Lowry's missed some time this season due to injury, but when he's been on the
floor, he's been good. Lowry averages 18.3 ppg, 6.1 apg and almost leads the
team in rebounding with 5.9 rpg.
"I haven't paid much attention to it," said Lowry. "I understood it was
business. In this league, you can't get too caught up in what happens when you
get traded or moved."
The Raptors have lost four in a row, including three on the road. The took the
San Antonio Spurs to two overtimes at home on Sunday, but fell 111-106. Lowry,
DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas each scored over 20 points, but it was an
afternoon to forget for Andrea Bargnani. The forward managed only four points
on 2-for-19 shooting.
These two teams have split their season series the past six seasons, although
the Raptors, who play seven of their next eight on the road against Western
Conference teams, haven't won in Houston since Feb. 28, 2007.
The Sports Network