• The Rockets will be without second-leading scorer Chandler Parsons (strained right calf) for the third consecutive game and reserve wing Carlos Delfino (flu-like symptoms) for the fourth straight contest Tuesday, when they begin their final homestand of the regular season against the Suns. Francisco Garcia will remain in Houston’s starting five with Parsons sidelined.
  • The Rockets (43-34) entered Tuesday with a “magic number” of two, which means they could clinch a playoff berth before the evening ends with the combination of a victory over Phoenix and a Jazz loss to the Thunder. The Rockets have not appeared in the postseason since Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were on their roster in 2008-09. “We just have to beat Phoenix tonight, and we’ll worry about the postseason later,” coach Kevin McHale said. “Things aren’t going to change much for us between now and whenever [we clinch a playoff spot].”
  • Phoenix (23-54), which has lost nine games in a row and 13 of 14 overall, is one defeat shy of suffering its most losses in a regular season since it went 16-66 in its inaugural campaign of 1968-69. The Suns will have to display more competitive fire than they have in their six-game losing streak away from Phoenix — during which the Suns have fallen by an average of 19.0 points — to avoid this piece of history for at least one more evening.
  • Phoenix’s Jermaine O’Neal will play after sitting out of Sunday’s loss to New Orleans with a bruised shin. Michael Beasley, however, is not with the team after returning to Phoenix to be with his newborn daughter.

Matt Miller

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