The Sixers (15-56) were upbeat on the eve of their expected record-tying contest.
"It is what it is," rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams said after Wednesday's practice at the San Antonio Spurs' practice facility. "If we lose those two games, we lose those two games.
"But I guarantee when we go out there, we are going to give 100 percent. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."
Houston boasts two all-stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard, although Howard is listed as day-to-day after missing the last four games with a strained left ankle.
The 6-foot-5 Harden is the league's fifth-leading scorer at 24.9 points per game.
The Sixers did post a 123-117 overtime win over the Rockets at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 13. Harden (sore foot) and Carter-Williams (bruised left foot) missed the game because of injuries.
James Anderson and Tony Wroten, who started in place of Carter-Williams, had career nights in the win.
Anderson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, scored a career-high 36 points against the team that waived in him in July. Wroten added 18 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds to become the first player in NBA history to post a triple-double in his first start.
He won't get the opportunity to duplicate his triple-double because he is missing the three-game road trip with a sprained right ankle.
The availability of Harden, Carter-Williams, and Wroten won't be the only difference from the prior matchup.
The Sixers traded away Evan Turner (Indiana Pacers), Lavoy Allen (Pacers), and Spencer Hawes (Cleveland Cavaliers) since then. They also have cut Darius Morris, Daniel Orton, and Kwame Brown. These days, the Sixers have a roster with eight players with at least one stint in the NBA Developmental League.
"Those days - no matter who we are playing - are a thousand years ago," coach Brett Brown said. "It's probably longer than a thousand years. It's a long, long time ago."
Notable. The Sixers will sign James Nunnally to a second-day 10-day contract on Thursday, according to a league source. The 6-foot-7 swingman's initial 10-day deal expired Wednesday. He was scheduled to fly with the team from San Antonio to Houston on Wednesday afternoon for the Rockets game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Number of games the Bucks are ahead of the 76ers in the "race" to the NBA's worst record.
Milwaukee's record during the Sixers' 25-game losing streak.
The number of players the Sixers have used this season.