The Phoenix Suns have a chance to leave Texas with two impressive victories, particularly with Tracy McGrady back in the Houston Rockets' lineup.

It appears McGrady will be available Friday as the Rockets try to avoid losing their season series with the Suns for what could be a pivotal tiebreaker in the playoff standings.

One potential key tiebreaker went Phoenix's way Wednesday, as the Suns won the season series against San Antonio with a 96-79 road victory over the defending champion Spurs.

"Anytime you come here it's a good win," Steve Nash said. "But we're also still fighting for seeding. It gives us another possibility as far as seeding goes."

While the Suns (53-26) are battling the Los Angeles Lakers for the Pacific Division lead, Houston (53-25) is a half-game ahead of Phoenix in the West with both teams still having a shot at the conference's No. 1 seed. It's very possible the tiebreaker between the teams could be the difference in that race, or even determine seeding if they meet in the first round.

The Suns have won two of the first three meetings this season.

"If we lose, Phoenix and Utah and everybody is going to get over us, we would lose home-court advantage and it would make things much more difficult," Rockets rookie Luis Scola said.

Scola's 13 points and 12 rebounds helped Houston overcome McGrady's absence in a 103-80 win over Seattle on Wednesday.

McGrady sat out to rest his sore left shoulder, which he sprained in a win over Sacramento on March 24, but said Thursday he will play against Phoenix. Since getting hurt, McGrady has shot 37.0 percent from the field, including 6-for-24 from 3-point range.

"I want to be efficient when I'm out there," he said. "This is the time to be on top of your game. My shoulder being the way it is, it's been tough. Hopefully, I can turn it around and not so much worry about my shoulder and have it cause me to shoot so bad."

The Rockets, though, could be missing starting forward Shane Battier, who was limited to 18 minutes Wednesday due to a bruised left foot and ankle.

"I just have to rely on the medical people and those two guys being truthful and telling us how they feel," Houston coach Rick Adelman said.

The Rockets welcomed back point guard Rafer Alston on Wednesday after he missed three games with a strained left hamstring. Houston won all of those games, and enters this matchup with a four-game winning streak - its longest since its 22-game run ended in mid-March.

Phoenix had Shaquille O'Neal back in action Wednesday after he sat out a win at Memphis the previous night with a right hip contusion. He looked very healthy, especially in the fourth quarter when he had eight of his 16 points as the Suns outscored the Spurs 24-11.

"I played through everything," said O'Neal, who was insulted by San Antonio not double-teaming him down the stretch. "I told them that if they play me single coverage, let me make them pay. I'm still the baddest 36-year-old ever created."

It certainly looked that way the last time these teams met, with O'Neal scoring 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a 122-113 home victory over Houston on March 22. It was the same game in which Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire set a franchise record by making all 20 of his free-throw attempts en route to a 38-point, 13-rebound effort.

Stoudemire is averaging 28.0 points and 12.7 rebounds in the season series while shooting 61 percent from the field and going 34-of-35 at the foul line.

The Suns have won seven of their last eight games in Houston, including a 115-105 victory on Nov. 17 in their only visit this season behind double-doubles from Stoudemire and Nash.

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