Rockets welcome Suns to Space City

The Houston Rockets will try to halt a two-game slide when they welcome the Phoenix Suns to South Texas on Friday.

After a poor start to the season, Houston crept near the top of the Southwest Division by winning nine of 10 games over a two-week span in January but have now come down to earth a bit with consecutive setbacks to Minnesota and San Antonio.

Most recently Tim Duncan scored 25 points and Tony Parker had 24, leading the Spurs to a 99-91 comeback win over the Rockets on Wednesday in the Alamo City.

Houston was led by Kevin Martin's 29 points while Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee finished with 15 points apiece. Martin has scored 29 during the Rockets' mini- skid since missing a pair of contests with a foot injury.

"They picked their energy up," Lowry said of the Spurs. "They played with more enthusiasm, but we missed some shots down the stretch. They played good defense and made good shots down the stretch."

The Rockets, who are a solid 9-3 at the Toyota Center this season, are two games behind the Spurs in the Southwest and will embark on a six-game road trip after tonight's contest.

The Suns, meanwhile, have won two of three, including a 120-103 rout of New Orleans in the opener of a brief two-game trek on Wednesday.

Steve Nash dropped in a game-high 30 points while shooting 13-of-16 from the floor and dishing out 10 assists in that one. The former two-time MVP also became the Suns' career leader in assists with 6,521, passing Kevin Johnson, who previously held the record with 6,518. Overall, Nash, who leads the NBA with 9.9 apg this season, has 9,441 career helpers, just 46 behind Oscar Robertson for fifth on the all-time list.

"We shot the ball well. I thought that was a big key," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We had good rhythm in our offense. Obviously when Steve is going like that we're pretty good."

Marcin Gortat contributed his 12th double-double in his last 13 games with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Channing Frye netted 16 and Jared Dudley finished with 15 points for the Suns, who recorded a season-high in points and bounced back from a 122-99 thumping against Dallas on Monday.

Forward Grant Hill had just two points and did not come out after intermission due to right knee soreness. The veteran has been listed a questionable for tonight.

Phoenix, which is 4-7 on the road, had won seven straight over the Rockets before Houston won a 95-93 squeaker in Space City last March.