Jon Leuer got the start at center.
Everything else was pretty much gravy at that point.
Houston started a lineup of Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones and Clint Capela. That's a pretty impressive testament to the team's depth. The Suns countered with P.J. Tucker. Markieff Morris, Sonny Weems, Brandon Knight and... Jon Leuer.
The Suns came out sluggish before a fastbreak lob pass from P.J. Tucker to Sonny Weems ignited the crowd. The Rockets led most of the first quarter, but Phoenix surged ahead on (what else) a Ronnie Price three pointer. To his credit, Ronnie probably played as well as any Suns player in the first half.
The Rockets countered with something called a Joshua Smith, whose girth may have rekindled fond memories of Oliver Miller or Garrett Siler for Suns fans.
Archie Goodwin went glass on a three, K.J. McDaniels tried to get fancy and missed a wide open dunk, Montrezl Harrell picked up four fouls in four minutes, the teams took turns passing the ball back and forth to each other.
It was preseason basketball at its finest.
The Rockets used a mini run to pull back ahead of the Suns 41-40 midway through the second quarter
Coach Jeff Hornacek called a timeout to stem the tide just like it was a real basketball game.
The Suns came out of the breather firing from deep as Mirza Teletovic and Devin Booker, seeing his first playing time, connected to put Phoenix back up by five
By the end of the first half the Rockets were platooning Sam Dekker and Trevor Ariza at center due to foul problems.
Terrence Jones took a break from his layup drill to nail a three at the buzzer... on a play out of a timeout that was defended quite poorly even by the standards of this game.
Capela became the second Rocket to whiff on an easy dunk, but the Suns must have felt sorry for him and gifted him a wide open lane for a statue of liberty dunk just moments later. Well, it wasn't completely wide open... Brandon Knight did manage to get on the wrong end of a highlight reel.
Weems was gliding to the basket for easy scores. He is plenty athletic enough to finish at the rim.
Smith decided he'd had enough after 10 minutes of playing time, picking up his sixth foul before the end of the third quarter. Fans in attendance were deprived the privilege of watching him lope up and down the court the rest of the night.
The Rockets ended the third quarter on a tear, while the Suns ended playing terribly. A circus style layup by Harrell topped off a pair of three pointers as Houston outscored the Suns 8-0 in the final 52 seconds of the period to pull ahead 97-80.
Sam Dekker missed a pair of free throws at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which meant that fans in attendance got free Carl's Jr. That relatively meaningless giveaway resulted in possibly the most boisterous cheers of the evening to that point. It was either that or the t-shirt cannon intermission.
The Rockets lineup of some guys didn't come out particularly strong in the fourth quarter, leaving the door slightly cracked for Phoenix. A group including Booker and T.J. Warren attempted to close the gap with a level of intensity that hadn't been previously exhibited.
A three point play by Warren closed the deficit to five points with a little over four minutes to play... and also got the crowd engaged in a way that I had thought could only be managed through handing out shiny baubles.
The Rockets tried to counter the surge by bringing Denzel Livingston in the game.
Booker and Warren had already combined for 20 of the team's 27 points in the quarter as Phoenix crept within three.
Warren tied the game with 1:31 remaining on a turn around jumper over Dekker, then gave the Suns their first lead since early in the third quarter with a pull up jumper on the next possession.
Houston finally showed some life after falling behind by five (116-111) on a three pointer from Booker. A layup by (who else) Denzel Livingston knotted the game back up at 117 with just five seconds remaining.
The Suns inbounds play was a disjointed mess that resulted in Ronnie Price chasing a ball into the backcourt before an inadvertent whistle allowed Teletovic to win a jump ball at midcourt... while Warren couldn't get a heave from three point range off before the buzzer. Only it looked even worse than that.
The Rockets came right back at the Suns with some guys in the overtime period. After two rejumps to kick things off (that's what happens when Mirza jumps center) bonus basketball was underway.
Unfortunately, the Sun magic from the fourth quarter fizzled and Houston secured the W in fairly uneventful fashion. basically Denzel Livingston looked a lot better than Archie Goodwin.
The Rockets trio of Smith, Capela and Jones were 15-17 from the field in the first half... basically all at the rim. The combo of Leuer and Teletovic got summarily victimized. Fortunately (hopefully), they won't be called upon to provide the team's primary source of rim defense.
Teletovic, Morris and Leuer combined to go 1-7 from three point range in the first half. I never felt like the floor got stretched much at all.
Sonny Weems is pretty athletic, but I'm still not quite sure whether he basketballs or not.
Devin Booker (15 points) and T.J. Warren (13 points) were amazing in the fourth quarter. It wasn't just the scoring, either. They brought energy and intensity, fueling the comeback with tenacity on the defensive end.
Archie Goodwin was the opposite of that.
Nice comeback by the Suns to give the fans something to cheer about at the end... even though the comeback did fall short.
Next game here counts.