Suns look to halt Rockets’ win streak in Phoenix
The Houston Rockets will get a chance to pad their already gaudy 3-point-shooting numbers Wednesday night when they run into one of the league’s weakest defensive teams, the Phoenix Suns, for the first time this season.
The Rockets are shooting 3’s at a record-setting pace this season, having already attempted 1,128. They’ve made 423, which already is approaching some teams’ season total from last year.
The scary part is the Rockets have posted those numbers despite not having seen the Suns yet.
Phoenix has allowed 3-pointers to be made at a 38.7-percent rate, the second-highest in the league.
The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Go, starting at 6:30 p.m.
While the sight of the Suns should bring smiles to the Rockets, so should their Talking Stick Resort Arena, where Houston has prevailed in its last five visits.
In fact, last year’s season series between the Rockets and Suns was dominated by the road team. After the Rockets recorded 111-105 and 116-100 wins at Phoenix, the Suns finished off the three-game series with a 124-115 win at Houston.
The 114.0 scoring average against the Suns was nothing new for the Rockets. They have taken advantage of the subpar Phoenix defense in recent years to score 100 or more points nine straight times.
Houston got a lot more resistance in its 102-100 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. The Rockets had made at least 10 3-pointers in 27 consecutive games before getting harassed into 6-for-38 shooting from beyond the arc by the Spurs.
In the process, the Rockets saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end.
“The biggest thing that happened,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni explained to reporters after the game when asked to explain how his team had blown a fourth-quarter lead, “is that we had about three or four wide-open shots we missed.”
Some were 3-pointers, which continued a game-long pattern. James Harden shot 1-for-11 from beyond the arc; Eric Gordon went 1-for-8.
Harden’s 10 missed 3’s came on the same night as he made 10 shots and 10 free throws, and had 10 rebounds. He finished with 31 points.
Houston will see a healthier Suns group Wednesday night than in any of the three meetings last season. Three of Phoenix’s top players — Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and T.J. Warren — never faced the Rockets last year.
The Suns have lost three in a row, including two straight since Warren has returned from a head injury that sidelined him for 12 games. He has been generally ineffective (total of two points on 1-for-6 shooting with only three rebounds) in his return as a reserve.
Suns coach Earl Watson insisted at practice Tuesday that he’s not concerned.
“He has to find his rhythm,” Watson told reporters. “At (Oklahoma City on Saturday), he couldn’t find his rhythm to get shots up. Against Minnesota (on Monday), he took shots that he normally makes, (but) he missed. (In Tuesday’s practice), he made those shots.”
- Brandon Knight
- Eric Bledsoe
- Eric Gordon
- FOX Sports Arizona
- Houston Rockets
- James Harden
- Phoenix Suns
- T.J. Warren