The Houston Rockets will try to get back on track when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night at the Toyota Center.
The Rockets have fallen on hard times recently in learning of the death of head coach Kevin McHale's daughter following a bout with lupus. They couldn't keep their three-game winning streak intact and dropped a 120-98 decision at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Former Thunder standout reserve James Harden faced his former team since being traded to the Rockets earlier this season and registered 17 points. Patrick Paterson led the way with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Omer Asik posted 17 and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who committed 16 turnovers and made 41.4 percent from the field.
"It felt good just to be competing against those guys and finally get this over with, to play here and get it over with," Harden said of facing OKC.
Harden missed his first nine shots and made just 3-of-16 from the field. Daequan Cook came over with Harden from Oklahoma City and scored 18 points against his former team.
Rockets starting forward Chandler Parsons missed the contest due to a shoulder injury and is questionable Saturday. As is guard Carlos Delfino (groin).
Houston will play two straight and six of seven games at home and is 5-3 in Space City this season. The Rockets are unbeaten in four straight as the host, but sport a paltry 1-7 record in conference action.
Meanwhile, the Jazz will close out a three-game road trip Saturday and had won two straight and five of six games until dropping a 106-94 decision Friday night against the Thunder.
Enes Kanter scored a team-high 18 points and pulled down seven boards, while Al Jefferson added 16 points and 11 boards for the Jazz, whose 19 turnovers were converted into 25 Oklahoma City points. Utah almost erased an 18-point deficit and pulled within five in the fourth quarter.
"I thought our guys showed a lot of character and continued to fight and try to get back in the game, but Westbrook had a couple of key steals against us and that kept us from getting back in the game," Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin remarked.
Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward had 13 points apiece in defeat.
The Jazz, who are 6-0 at home, are only 3-8 away from Salt Lake City and will begin a three-game homestand Monday versus the Clippers, Magic and Raptors.
Utah recently defeated Houston 102-91 on Nov. 19 at home and received 15 points from Hayward and 14 points and 16 boards out of Jefferson. Patterson led the Rockets in that one with 19 points and Harden netted only six.
The Jazz have beaten the Rockets three straight times.