Tonight the Suns travel to the Lone Star state for a throw down with the Houston Rockets. The Suns have stepped up in both match ups versus the rough and tumble Rockets for two hard fought victories. The last game versus Houston consisted of some insane runs with the Suns bench finally shutting down Brooks and Landry in the 4th to come out on top, 118-110.
The Rockets are coming off of a big victory versus a short handed Blazers squad 104-100, with the usual suspects Brooks and Landry going for 33 and 21 respectively. Tonight Houston must play without guard Kyle Lowry who is out with a sprained knee. In his place we will most likely see Wil Conroy.
It goes without saying that every Western Conference matchup is important for the Suns if they hope to stay in the playoff hunt. Taking the series from the Rockets may be especially important since the two squads are looking to obtain a spot in the lower portion of the seeding, if a tiebreaker situation comes into effect.
The Rockets aren't exactly having an easy time on this home stand. They began their 6 game stretch with losses to Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver before beating Portland. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and find themselves 4.5 back of Dallas in the Southwest, tied with Memphis and OKC for the 9th spot in the WC.
At the moment, the Suns find themselves 7th in the WC, a half game back of Portland and a half game up on New Orleans. A victory to follow the Mavs win would be HUGE for our beloved Suns, and bolster their confidence going into the All Star Break.
Keys to the Game
The usual here.
Defense. Rebounds. Containment. We know what Houston brings. Slow Brooks, challenge Landry. Let Ariza jack up 11 threes like last time (he's shooting 30% this season). Robin Lopez did a nice job at the end of the January 7 game limiting Landry's effectiveness. It would be nice to see Amare Stoudemire pick up 2 or 3 boards (there are many numbers greater than 1). Then again, Pony Boy Amundson and the rest of the bench stepped up big in MAX's stead against the Mavs, so maybe it doesn't even matter. The Suns could use the 25 and 11 STAT put up last time out against Houston.
- The Suns have scored at least 110 points in each of the last four meetings with the Rockets
- Steve Nash has averaged 23.8 points and 14.5 assists in the last four HOU-PHX matchups.
- Carl Landry averages 17 and 6 versus the Suns (6 games), while shooting 66%
- Aaron Brooks averages 17 points and shoots 47% from beyond the arc in 7 games versus the Suns
- The Suns have beaten every Southwest Division team at least once this season, accounting for 6 victories
- The Rockets and Suns rank 8 and 9 in the rebounding category in the West with 42 and 41.8 RPG.
- The Suns are second in the WC in FG% at 48%, the Rockets are 14th at 44% PG.
- The Suns lead the league in scoring at 109.9 pg. The Rockets are 15th with 100.7 pg.
And...A Special Sunday Morning Treat For You All: What is Jared Dudley Tweeting Today?
"Do u think a NBA team should be able to send a player home..ex T Mac, Jamal timsley..It even happened with Marbury..No one even talks about it..Dallas did it with Shawn Williams..."
Alright, so should an NBA team be able to send a player home? Discuss....