When a teams star player is as fragile as a Fabergé egg, theres nothing like a favorable mismatch at home to keep interest up, and the Houston Rockets vs. the Washington Wizards game should provide just that. Despite Tracy McGradys bum knee, the Rockets sit atop the Southwest Division, inching ahead of Dallas and San Antonio. Pair that sweet situation with the fact that the Rockets are facing the Washington Wizards, one of the NBAs most wretched teams, and fans should be in the festive mood before the end of the first quarter. The Wizards need wins like McGrady needs painkillers, but theyre likely to leave town disappointed as long as Yao Ming maintains the presence hes been cultivating in the paint. Watching the Rockets big man score more consistently should excite even the non-enthusiast, and with all those $9 beers the Toyota Center sells, it ought to be easy to keep that holiday spirit flowing during an easy Houston victory. 7:30 p.m. 1510 Polk. For information, call 866-446-8849 or visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com. $10 to $440.
Mon., Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2008