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Game Day Open Thread: Phoenix Suns at Houston Rockets

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7-2 6-4
6:30 PM Mountain/8:30 PM Eastern
TV: My45 HD, NBA League Pass
Probable starters:
Steve Nash PG Rafer Alston
Leandro Barbosa SG Bonzi Wells
Grant Hill SF Chuck Hayes
Shawn Marion PF Shane Battier
Amare Stoudemire C Yao Ming

Up next for the Suns is the Houston Rockets, a team that would have been a great early season test had they not lost Tracy McGrady to an elbow injury on Wednesday. But the Rockets should still be more of a challenge than most of the teams the Suns have faced so far. With a healthy Yao Ming, newcomer Luis Scola (who broke out for 20 points on 10-of-11 shooting against San Antonio last night), and an offensively-minded coach, the Suns might be facing a different Rockets team than the one they have beaten eight times in the last 11 meetings. Tracy McGrady's absence hurts the Rockets tremendously (their record without McGrady is similar to the Suns' record without Steve Nash). However, from watching Scola play for Argentina against Team USA this past summer, I have a feeling that given the opportunity, he could make a good deal of trouble for the Suns. With McGrady out, he just might get that opportunity. Still, the Suns have typically not been a good matchup for the Rockets, and Scola's presence can't make Yao Ming capable of running up and down the floor all night without tiring. Hence for the Suns, it is vital that they stick to their game. Push it, and keep pushing it until the Rockets are huffing and puffing. When they Suns do that, they usually beat this team.

The Suns will likely be without Raja Bell, whose ankle acted up again after Thursday's game. That means Leandro Barbosa will probably return to the starting lineup in his place, possibly leaving a few bench minutes for someone else. Another Eric Piatkowski sighting, perhaps? Maybe, but I'm guessing D.J. gets the nod this time.

I'll be doing the Willie Nelson thing again today (on the road, for those who don't know their country music), so sunofa will be providing the recap. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Here's what happens to the Rockets when the Suns play their game: