After a slow start, the Houston Rockets are making a strong push up the Western Conference standings.
The Utah Jazz are heading in the opposite direction following their quick start.
Houston goes for a fifth consecutive victory - and second over the Jazz in 11 days - on Wednesday night when it opens a road-heavy portion of its schedule with its lone visit to Salt Lake City.
Since dropping seven of 10 to begin coach Kevin McHale's tenure, the Rockets (21-14) have climbed into a second-place tie with division rival Dallas in the Southwest as well as fourth overall in the Western Conference.
Houston returned from the All-Star break Tuesday and defeated Toronto 88-85 to complete a six-game homestand 5-1 and move a season-best seven-game above .500.
While the Rockets' defense has helped them pull out some close wins - they've won their last three by a total of 13 points - the team needs to improve on the offensive end after making a season-low 29 field goals and shooting...