Phoenix Suns at Houston Rockets Preview
The Phoenix Suns have never been more than a blip on the radar of the Houston Rockets, as evidenced by their 3-0 regular-season series sweep last year, but this is not the same Phoenix Suns team, and they have the firepower to match the Rockets duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. After being on the road the last few games, the Rockets will be back home tonight as they host Phoenix.
Houston won their last game and they have won three of their last four with their only loss coming in the double overtime game against the San Antonio Spurs. They are 14-7 on the season and fifth place in the Western Conference. They have an excellent home record of 8-2 at the Toyota Center.
The Suns, under new head coach Monty Williams are 10-11 on the season and sit in seventh place in the West. They won their last game and are 5-4 on the road. This will be the first matchup of the regular-season series.
Time: 8 PM ET
Arena: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Channel: FSA, ATTSN-SW
Suns: Ty Jerome (P), Aron Baynes (O)
Rockets: Eric Gordon, Nene, Gerald Green (O)
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
The Suns needed overtime on Thursday night to dispatch the New Orleans Pelicans 139-132. They had to weather a 40-point first-quarter storm and being outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter.
“This is a really big win and now we have a next tough game,” Suns forward Dario Saric said. “If we can do some great things (at Houston), it’ll be a great trip for us.”
Devin Booker looked unstoppable in the game, scoring 44 points, almost 20 points more than his season average. Booker was one of six players scoring in double figures.
Ricky Rubio had a double-double with 13 points and 15 assists, and Kelly Oubre finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Suns were also able to get some scoring help off the bench with Cameron Johnson scoring 18 and Mikal Bridges scoring 11.
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
The Toronto Raptors kept James Harden well below his season average on Thursday night, but the Rockets got past their double overtime loss to the Spurs with a 119-109 win over Toronto. With Harden being limited offensively to 23 points, other Rockets players picked up the slack.
“James is more than happy to just draw the double team,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Other than Russ and James, we took (44) 3s and made 19 of them. That’s what you got to do — wide-open 3s and just knock them down.”
The Rockets definitely knocked them down. Ben McLemore has been playing a big role for the Rockets lately with Eric Gordon out. He finished with 28 points against Toronto. Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.
PJ Tucker also scored in double figures with 18 and Danuel House had 16 off the bench.
Key Player Matchups
James Harden vs. Devin Booker
Harden and Booker are two of the more potent scorers in the league, and neither is really known for their defense. This should be entertaining as both players have crazy range and heat up quickly.
Russell Westbrook vs. Ricky Rubio
Westbrook is obviously the better player on both sides of the ball, but Rubio is arguably the better point guard because he has a knack for working within the flow of the offense and making his teammates better. Rubio has been able to focus more on distribution this season and that shows with his eight-plus assists per game.
Harden and Booker are fantasy studs for tonight’s game. Harden is available for $11.7k on FanDuel with a projection of 60.4 points, while Booker is available for $8.6k and is projected for 36.5 points.
McLemore may not have a great projection at just 17.7 points, but he’s a low-risk value option for $4.9k.
Bet on Matchup
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