• Neither Rockets center Dwight Howard nor reserve guard Jeremy Lin took part in Monday’s practice due to respective sore lower backs, but both will play Tuesday against the Heat. Forward Chandler Parsons will return to the starting five after missing Saturday’s win over Detroit with a sinus infection and migraines.
  •  Miami guard Dwyane Wade will be back in the lineup after sitting out of Monday’s win over Charlotte as part of the club’s maintenance program for his knees. Wade enters Tuesday’s contest in impressive form, averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists while knocking down 62 percent of his shots over his last five games. Reserve big man Greg Oden, however, will take the night off to rest. “It’s just based on all that [Oden] has prepared for so far,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We just told him we don’t want him to play [both nights of] a back-to-back right now.”
  • Houston is beginning a daunting seven-game stretch that includes five meetings with clubs that have at least 41 victories, as well as a visit to Chicago to face the surging Bulls. For coach Kevin McHale, one of the biggest keys to flourishing during this tough period of the schedule is receiving balanced contributions from every member of the Rockets’ rotation. “In this league, it’s all about … hopefully every single night getting five or six of your guys playing really well at the same time and being able to mix and match,” McHale said. “[A tough stretch of games] makes you fine-tune things, and it makes you look at certain things. Any time you play a top-tier team it helps you, and we’re looking forward to it.”
  • Houston (40-19) has won a league-high 18 consecutive games when it scores at least 100 points, while the Heat (43-14) are 32-2 this season when they limit their opponent to less than 100. The Rockets will need to protect the ball better than they have recently if they want to extend that streak to 19, as they have averaged 19.5 turnovers over their last four contests. “We’re gonna just have to make sure we hit the open man and just trust whoever the open man is, whether it’s a big or a little, just to make the next play,” McHale said. “We can’t go for the home-run play. … We’re much better off when we start our action, a guy turns a corner and we move the ball.”

Matt Miller

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