(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets have taken over the top spot in the Southwest Division and look to remain in the driver's seat when they visit the Toronto Raptors Monday at Air Canada Centre.
The Rockets are a half-game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies in both the Southwest standings and No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.
Houston is in the midst of playing five of six games on the road and opened the stretch with Sunday's 99-91 triumph over the Washington Wizards. James Harden scored 24 points on just 7-of-20 shooting, Corey Brewer netted 15 points off the bench and Josh Smith posted 14 and 10 rebounds.
Dwight Howard had a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards in 18 minutes of action for the Rockets, who shot 42.5 percent and had a 53-43 rebounding advantage. The Rockets turned the ball over 20 times for 21 points.
"It's nice to win the games, but it would be really nice to get healthy. That's our biggest thing," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
McHale just got Howard back and the big man is expected to miss Monday's game with a sore knee.
The Rockets have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games, and will host Sacramento on Wednesday before playing three more on the road against Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Houston is 23-13 on the road this season.
Toronto will wrap up a three-game homestand (1-1) Monday and recorded a 94-83 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night.
Jonas Valanciunas scored a team-high 19 points with seven rebounds, Lou Williams provided 18 points off the bench and James Johnson added 17 in a reserve role. DeMar DeRozan was held to six points, but had 10 rebounds and seven assists for Toronto, which clinched a second straight Atlantic Division title and won for the fifth time in nine tries.
"We have other goals we want to accomplish now," Williams said.
The Raptors are fourth in the East - 1 1/2 games behind Chicago and 2 1/2 games ahead of Washington.
Toronto, which is 25-13 at home this season, will play six of the next seven games on the road.
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (back) is questionable Monday and has missed two straight and four of the previous five games. The All-Star is averaging 17.9 points and 6.9 assists.
Houston topped Toronto, 98-76, at home on Feb. 21, as Brewer and Harden scored 26 and 20 points, respectively. Johnson countered with 27 points in that one for the Raptors.
The Rockets are winless in their last seven trips north of the border.