Rockets Stay Alive In Chase For 2011 NBA Playoffs Bid; Hornets Slip

The Houston Rockets earned an improbable win over the San Antonio Spurs Friday, boosting their slim hopes of capturing one of the West's final bids for the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

The Rockets tipped the Spurs 119-114 in overtime on Friday, with Kevin Martin scoring nine of his 33 points in extra time. While the result probably helped the Lakers more than any other team, the win kept the Rockets in shouting range of the teams currently in the Nos. 7 and 8 spots in the West.

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Hornets handily to drop the teams into matching 43-33 records. Houston is at 40-36, three games back with six remaining. If the Rockets do catch one of the teams, it would likely be the Hornets; Houston gets a direct shot at New Orleans on Wednesday, which gives the Rockets a rare chance to make up a game without relying on someone else. But the odds remain long; New Orleans needs just two wins or Rockets losses to clinch a spot.

The Grizzlies need four, but can mix things up with another win over the Hornets on April 10. The Hornets currently have a 2-1 season series lead on Memphis. New Orleans will finish with a better division record, so if the Hornets and Grizzlies finish the season tied, N.O. will get the better seed. But the Rockets are counting on the Hornets to lose enough to fall out, because relying on Memphis to lose lately has been a bad bet.

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