The Phoenix Suns head into Houston tonight to play a Rockets team that has won 8 out of its last 10 and had a chance to beat the Mavericks on Tuesday night until Devean George went crazy with three-point shots. Yao Ming is hurt but Dikembe Mutombo has come in to replace him. Mutombo isn't going to score a lot of points on you but he can get a lot of rebounds. That could hurt the Suns tonight now that Kurt Thomas is out for 6 weeks.
It seems clear that the key to the game is running. Dikembe Mutombo has to be at least 45-50 years old by now despite his official listed age of 40. If the Suns run, the Rockets will be forced to pull Mutombo out and play small ball with the Suns. So, without further ado, here are my keys to the game:
1. Run, run, run - I don't really even need to mention it since that's the Suns' key play. But in this case running Dikembe ragged could cause him to leave the game early leaving all the rebounds for Shawn and Amare.
2. Get ahead early - The Rockets played last night and will be tired after running against the Mavericks. So if the Suns can get a big lead early, the Rockets may be too tired to come back.
3. Contain Tracy McGrady - He's going to score his points but he certainly doesn't have to score 45 like he did against the Mavericks last night. Then again it appears that McGrady scoring 45 caused what I call the Kobe effect. One player scores all the points and gets all the glory yet the team loses the game. So maybe it's not bad for McGrady to go off for 45-50 after all.
I think that's it. The Rockets are playing really well right now and the Suns need to take them seriously. But the Rockets really aren't a match for the Suns if they're on their game.
More after the game tonight.