The Houston Rockets are trying to avoid their longest losing streak of the season. That could be difficult to accomplish if they don't have their top two players.

Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are questionable with back injuries as the Rockets get set to host the Sacramento Kings in their third and final meeting Sunday.

Houston (47-29) has dropped a season high-tying three straight games, including an 85-78 defeat to Portland on Friday. McGrady, sidelined eight games earlier this season with back spasms and soreness, missed the contest with a stiff back and played less than seven minutes in the previous defeat to Golden State on Wednesday.

The Rockets guard is averaging 24.0 points this season, but has notched 32.5 in two meetings with the Kings - one of his best marks against any opponent. Houston won both of those matchups in overtime, including a 109-104 victory in the most recent meeting Feb. 13.

Yao sat out both of those games with a broken right leg that sidelined him for more than two months, and now he could miss the final matchup with Sacramento due to a sore back. The Rockets' leading scorer was held to nine points on 2-of-4 shooting in Wednesday's loss to the Warriors, and didn't play Friday.

Houston struggled to find offense without McGrady and Yao, shooting 38.2 percent (29-for-76) from the field against the Trail Blazers. Luther Head followed up his career-high 30-point performance against Golden State with 19 points Friday, while Juwan Howard had 14 points and 11 boards, but they shot a combined 11-for-29 (37.9 percent).

"We didn't play good enough to win,'' Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We give up layups down the stretch, 3s in the corner which are 3s we really don't want to give up. We've missed big shots.''

The Rockets have already clinched a playoff berth and are in fifth place in the Western Conference, which will earn them a first-round meeting with Utah. Houston needs to end its skid if it wants to catch the fourth-place Jazz and earn home-court advantage in that series.

The Rockets, though, might be better off not having home court, having just concluded an 0-3 homestand. Houston, opening a three-game trip, is 21-16 on the road and has won four of its last five away from the Toyota Center. Houston has also won three of its previous four in Sacramento.

The Kings (31-44) overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit Friday and snapped their four-game skid with a 107-103 win over the Jazz. Sacramento shot 51.4 percent (37-for-72) from the field, went 6-for-11 from 3-point range and hit 27 of 32 from the free-throw line for only its third victory in 15 games.

Kevin Martin had 21 points to lead seven Kings in double figures, four of which were reserves. One of those bench players was John Salmons, who scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

"This one was just for our morale, winning always feels good,'' said Salmons, who had 11 points in the final 3:49. "We came out and played hard and got a win against a quality team.''

The Kings needed a balanced effort as starting point guard Mike Bibby turned in his worst showing of the season, scoring one point in less than 15 minutes. Bibby is shooting 39.6 percent this season, but he's averaged 27.3 percent (18-for-66) over the last five games.

Ron Artest notched his 10th double-double Friday with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and he's been especially productive against the Rockets. He's averaging 36.5 points against them this season and 20.3 points in 12 career meetings - his best mark against any opponent.

Despite its recent victory, Sacramento will likely see its streak of eight straight postseason appearances end.


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