Dwight Howard, Rockets only focused on task at hand

DALLAS – The Rockets might have gotten some help in their hopes to secure a playoff spot when the Spurs knocked off the Jazz on Tuesday, holding on when Rodney Hood’s 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win missed. Rockets center Dwight Howard, however, said that is not his concern.

The Rockets face the Mavericks tonight a half game behind Utah and one game behind Dallas. With a win, they would be tied with the Mavericks for seventh and hold the tie-breaker with four game remaining. With a loss, they would fall two back of Dallas and would need help down the stretch to qualify for the postseason.

That was enough for Howard to say he does not want to draw his focus away from the task at hand by worrying about other teams’ results or schedules.

“We got to get this one,” Howard said. “We can’t look ahead and try to think about who we play next what other teams are doing and if they’re going to win or lose. We got to control tonight and that’s the only thing on our minds. If not, we’re really not trying to win.”

Howard has played only one regular-season game against Dallas the past two seasons. He averaged 16.6 points, 13.8 rebounds and three blocked shots against the Mavericks in last season’s first-round playoff series.

He said little about the potential benefit of his own scoring.

“We just have to win the game,” he said. “That’s the only thing that matters.”

Asked if his scoring could be a way to win the game, Howard said, “The way to win is to outscore the opponent. We have to do a better job of trying to outscore Dallas.

“As of late they’ve been playing good basketball. It’s not just what they’re doing on the offensive end. It’s what they’re doing on the defensive end. We have to be very focused tonight taking our shots and being aggressive and on the defensive end, trying to really contain (J.J.) Barea. He’s been playing great basketball lately. He’s one of the main reasons they’ve had success of late.”


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