Rockets aim to stay hot in meeting with Nets

By all accounts, the Houston Rockets were big winners at the NBA trade deadline and they'll take their new-look team to the Barclays Center Friday night to meet the Brooklyn Nets.

The Rockets acquired Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in this past summer's draft, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from the Sacramento Kings for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich. They then shipped Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second-round pick.

"Thomas is a guy people are going to love," said Houston General Manager Daryl Morey. "(He's) high-energy, runs the floor, led the country in rebounding when he was at Kansas. He's a guy we really think has the potential to be a starting big man in this league and has a lot of upside. Obviously he's still young, and he's somebody who���s going to compete for minutes and try to help us win down the stretch."

All three new players are expected to be in uniform for the Rockets against the Nets. Carlos Delfino has been pegged to start in place of Patterson as the Rockets will go small.

Houston has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games, but shot out of the All-Star break with a 122-119 home victory Wednesday over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

James Harden showed his All-Star status with 46 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He shot 14-for-19 from the field, 7-for-8 from long range and 11- for-12 from the foul line.

"He's a phenomenal offensive force," head coach Kevin McHale said of Harden. "He can drive it. He's got the ability to shoot it. He's got the ability to beat you off the bounce. I think he's almost un-guardable off the catch. He's just a hell of a basketball player."

The Nets stood pat at the deadline, despite reported efforts to pry Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks.

They may not need him right now. The Nets have won four in a row dating back to before the All-Star break and recently swept a home-and-home series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

They escaped with the road win on Wednesday. Down three, Monta Ellis of the Bucks got fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.1 seconds left. He missed the first two, then missed the last on purpose, but the Nets hung on for a 97-94 victory.

"We were just hanging on by our fingernails in the first half, and the bench came in and gave us a great lift in the first half and got us back in the game," Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

The Rockets have won 12 in a row in this series dating back to the 2005-06 season. The last time the Nets beat Houston at home was on Mar. 31, 2003.