Rockets aim for rare season sweep of Spurs

( - For how well the San Antonio Spurs have played this season, the Houston Rockets have had their number.

The Rockets go for a rare season sweep of the Spurs when the two Southwest Division foes tangle Monday at the Toyota Center.

Houston has won the first three meetings with San Antonio this season, marking its first series win since 1996-97 (3-1). The last time the Rockets swept the Spurs in a season series was 1988-89 (6-0).

San Antonio, which has lost the last four matchups between the Texas squads, leads the all-time series by a 97-79 margin.

The Rockets ended a two-game slide with Saturday's 111-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans and were led by James Harden's 33 points and 13 assists. Patrick Beverley scored 20 points in his return from an eight-game absence due to a knee injury and Jeremy Lin added 18 points off the bench for Houston, which needed a 39-22 advantage in the fourth quarter to pull away.

"We had that 'pull a rabbit out your hat' tonight," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale, whose club ended the game on a 15-0 run. "We have got to get another win before our season ends to guarantee home-court in the first round. That's what we want."

Dwight Howard also returned from an eight-game absence for the Rockets with an ankle injury and recorded 13 points with six rebounds in 29 minutes of action.

The Pelicans were playing without All-Star Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Brian Roberts. Houston forward Chandler Parsons missed the game with injuries to his wrist and hip, and is questionable Monday.

Houston has won four of its last six games and is fourth in the Western Conference standings, just a half-game ahead of idle Portland.

San Antonio has won two straight and three of four games since having its franchise-record 19-game winning streak stopped April 3 at Oklahoma City. In a 112-104 victory versus Phoenix last Friday, Danny Green knocked down seven 3-pointers and netted 33 points to help the Spurs lock up the NBA's best record.

Green was 12-of-17 from the field and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.

"Not every shot felt good, but for some reason they were dropping," Green said afterward.

Tony Parker, who sat out Thursday's victory against the Dallas Mavericks with a bruised shin, put in 18 points for San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard also had 18 points and Tim Duncan rested.

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (calf) is questionable against Houston.

The Spurs will close out the regular season Wednesday versus the Los Angeles Lakers in the Alamo City, where they have won 15 in a row.