Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin said you learn and grow from losses. It remains to be seen if that will come into effect Friday on the road against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.
The Rockets have dropped two in a row and three of their last five games, but still possess the eighth and final playoff spot in the congested Western Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers are two games behind the Rockets.
"You really do learn and grow from your losses," Lin said after Thursday's practice. "For us, if we can go on a nice, little win streak right now then I guess it makes this tough stretch worth it."
Houston is coming off Wednesday's 110-107 loss versus the Milwaukee Bucks as James Harden recorded 25 points and Chandler Parsons netted 20 for the Rockets, who got 16 points and a career-best 22 rebounds from Omer Asik. The Rockets squandered a 17-point, first-quarter lead and were burnt by Monta Ellis' game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
The Rockets had won 11 in a row against the Bucks at home in the regular season.
"The ball got tipped around and they got it," said Houston coach Kevin McHale on his team giving the Bucks multiple chances on their last possession. "You have to come up with those. They got a couple of opportunities. The ball got tipped. It was a scramble at that point. Everybody's got to try to come back and get one."
Houston made history in a poor way in that loss to Milwaukee and dropped its second straight game in which it led by at least 17 points. The Rockets suffered a 105-103 loss at Washington on Saturday. On a more positive note, the Rockets had a 70-44 advantage in the paint versus the Bucks and are second in the NBA in that category. Houston has scored at least 60 points inside seven times this season.
The Rockets, who are 12-19 on the road, are also second in fastbreak points (18.7 ppg). On the injury front for Houston, Harden (ankle) is questionable and Lin (ankle/hand) is listed as probable.
Thomas Robinson, who was acquired in a trade with the Sacramento Kings prior to the NBA trade deadline, made his Rockets' debut versus Milwaukee. He scored two points in just under eight minutes of play.
Orlando will resume a three-game homestand Friday and was up to its losing ways in Wednesday's 125-101 setback to the Sacramento Kings.
The Magic opened the residency with Wednesday's loss to the Kings, who dropped 67 first-half points on the hosts en route to victory. Nik Vucevic, who had 19 rebounds in the previous win at Philadelphia, was held to just four points and only two boards versus the Kings.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with a career-best 23 points for Orlando, which also got 15 points from Arron Afflalo and 14 from Beno Udrih.
"It was going to boil down to penetration and keeping the ball in front of us. It was a tough task tonight," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Orlando guard Jameer Nelson (left patella contusion) missed his fourth straight game and is doubtful for Friday. Orlando could use his facilitating skills as evidenced by its lack of production in the first versus the Kings.
The Magic, who allowed seven Kings players to score in double figures and have lost 18 of 20 games, are only 9-21 at home this season and will close out the stand Sunday versus Memphis. Orlando is winless in four straight at home.
Orlando and Houston are meeting for the first time since the Magic recorded a 104-95 win last Dec. 26 in central Florida. The Magic have won five straight against the Rockets, losers in three straight and 13 of 20 as the guest in this series.