Open Game Day Thread: Phoenix Suns vs Houston Rockets

53-26 53-25
5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
TV: My45 HD, NBA League Pass
Probable starters:
Steve Nash PG Rafer Alston
Raja Bell SG Tracy MacGrady
Grant Hill SF Shane Battier (questionable)
Amare Stoudemire PF Luis Scola
"Baddest 36 Year Old Evah!" C Dikembe Mutombo, 42 at least!

I was in a bit of a rush, so I simply copied TexSUN's previous preview in November with a few inconsequential edits.

Up next for the Suns is the Houston Rockets, a team that would have been a great early late season test had they not lost Tracy McGrady Yao Ming to injury. But the Rockets should still be quite a challenge. With a healthy-enough-to-play Yao Ming Tracy McGrady, newcomer Luis Scola, and an offensively-minded coach, the Suns might be facing only a slightly different Rockets team than the one they have beaten 10 times in the last 14 meetings. The team is essentially the same the SUNS whupped just three weeks ago, only more injured. Tracy McGrady's Yao Ming's absence hurts the Rockets tremendously. Their record without McGrady Ming is similar to the Suns' record without Steve Nash Marcus Banks (17-5, or 0.772).

Houston's success post Ming has been a surprising development. With the finger-wagging Dikembe Mutombo filling in at center and a cast of youth and grit, Rick Adelman has this squad playing pretty well. However, like all teams in April, nagging injuries on key players MacGrady and Battier weigh heavily on the team that may have to rely even more heavily on its youngsters.

Things to look for on your rout route through Houston:

  • We need the win to get ahead of the Rockets in the standings and to stay in the hunt for home court in the first and second rounds.
  • How bad are T-Mac's and Battier's injuries right now?
  • The big man battles should be the most fun. Shaq vs Mutumbo (one more time!), Shaq vs. Landry, STAT vs Scola.
  • Bobby Jackson vs. Leandro Barbosa could be mildly entertaining. The Bonzi Wells-Bobby Jackson trade is an interesting one for me, given Rick Adelman's knowledge of both players.
  • Why does Rick Adelman look like Lex Luthor? I hated him in Portland. I loved him in Sacromento. I kinda wish him limited success in Houston. You never hear him say something stupid or pontificate about something not his business.
  • Watch for white stiff Steve Novak and see if he can follow-up his 30-minute 5-9 3 point shooting for 17 points last night. With T-Mac back, he probably won't get much time, but it'd be interesting to see if he can follow it up.
Phoenix Stan is trading traded Q&A with the folks at the Dream Shake, so pop over there to check them out. If you need a reason to hate the Rockets, and I know its hard to, but look: The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog A blog dedicated to all things Houston Rockets. Past, present and future. Expect criticism, commentary and shameless promotions to get Robert Horry into the Hall of Fame.

That's enough motivation for me.

Live blogging on my mark. Ready. Steady. Go!

Live Blog moved here

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