Last season, Tracy McGrady promised the city of Houston he would lead the Houston Rockets out of the first round of the NBA playoffs. In the playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, T-Mac showed the kind of drive that Rockets fans had been longing for, but his team ultimately fell short in a heartbreaking game seven. It was hard to blame No. 1 for the loss -- it was his supporting cast that came up short. But hey, that was last season. This week the Rockets open the preseason against the Orlando Magic at the 11th annual Clutch City Classic, which benefits local charities. It's your chance to meet a new cast of characters that could help T-Mac (and Yao Ming) get over the playoff hump. First-round draft pick Luther Head is an athletic freak of nature with a 39-inch vertical. Guard Derek Anderson is a natural scorer. Forward Stromile Swift can run the floor and speed up the fast break. With veterans Juwan Howard and Dikembe Mutombo returning, the Rockets might be this season's team to beat in the West. Our favorite subplot for this game is the showdown between Magic guard Steve Francis and McGrady. Management traded Francis for McGrady last year, and no doubt he has something to prove. (Someone better remind Francis that this is a charity game.) 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 12. 1510 Polk. For tickets, call 713-627-3865 or visit www.rockets.com. $10 to $200. -- Mosi Secret
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Forget nightclubs, bars, bookstores and even grocery stores: Apparently the new place to meet hotties is the tennis court. If you've got game of any kind, don your finest whites and show up weekly at ClubMonkey's Sunday Tennis Mixer. Each mixer/tennis tourney begins with 15 minutes of warm-up followed by three rounds of matches, consisting of either male or female singles, doubles or mixed doubles. Hot-handed swingers accumulate points throughout the season to determine the overall champs. And hey, aside from being crowned the best with a racket, you'll hold court with young, athletic singles, and may just wind up with your very own Anna Kournikova or Andy Roddick. Groups meet at 11 a.m. Sundays at the Houston Racquet Club, 10709 Memorial. For information and registration, call 713-522-0881 or visit www.sportsmonkey.com. $50. -- Steven Devadanam