Howard, Rockets begin road stretch against Bucks

( - The Houston Rockets will have to get used to playing on the road when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at the Bradley Center.

The Rockets are scheduled to play two straight and seven of their next eight games on the road and are 12-10 away from home.

Houston has won four in a row and seven of nine games, and is 12-4 since the new year. In Wednesday's 122-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns, Dwight Howard put the Rockets on his back for 34 points and 14 rebounds, and has scored 20 or more points in four straight games.

Howard has 32 double-doubles on the season and five 30-point, 10-rebound performances in 2013-14. The last time a Rockets player posted 40 double- doubles in a season was Charles Barkley (42) back in 1997-98.

"We expect to be a championship team," said Howard. "I told the guys at the beginning of the year it takes time. You can't allow anything on the outside to effect the process of what we're trying to accomplish here."

James Harden scored 23 points, while Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones tallied 19 points apiece for Houston, which shot 54.9 percent for the game and sank a season-high 11-of-16 3-pointers. Harden was 3-of-5 from downtown and made all 12 of his foul shots. Jeremy Lin supplied 11 points in the win.

Milwaukee will commence a six-game homestand Saturday versus Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Orlando, Denver and Indiana, and is 5-18 in Brew City.

The Bucks have the worst record in the NBA at 9-40 and are the only team without double-digit victories. The losing ways continued with Wednesday's 110-100 setback at Denver, as Larry Sanders had a 25-point, 15-rebound performance go to waste.

Khris Middleton also scored 25 points and Brandon Knight added 16 for Milwaukee, which made 37.9 percent from the floor and lost for the 16th time in the past 18 contests. Zaza Pachulia had 15 points in a losing effort.

"They have a nice backcourt and they did a nice job on their pick and rolls," Bucks head coach Larry Drew said of Denver.

Denver's backcourt duo of Randy Foye and Ty Lawson combined for 38 points and 19 assists.

In injury news for Milwaukee, guards O.J. Mayo (illness), Gary Neal (back) and Luke Ridnour (back), forward Ersan Ilyasova (back) and center Ekpe Udoh (ankle) are all questionable versus the Rockets.

Milwaukee lost the first meeting with Houston on Jan. 18 by a 114-104 score at the Toyota Center. Terrence Jones scored 36 points in that one to lead the Rockets, while Knight paced the Bucks with 26 points.

These two teams have split the last 14 meetings at Milwaukee.