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Final Score: Phoenix Suns get nuked by James Harden, Houston Rockets 127-118

Suns lost another game, but at least it wasn't to a buzzer-beater, right?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

First James Harden severed his own elbow on a drive. Then he came back to score 21 fourth quarter points to carry the Rockets to a big victory over the Phoenix Suns.

That's all we have to say about that.

First quarter

The Suns opened the game with two Miles Plumlee offensive possessions... that ended badly. But I guess I didn't need to write those last few words.

Markieff Morris missed a couple of wide open shots and Goran had one as well, and suddenly the Suns were down 10-3 before they could get a breath.

It was a 17-8 lead soon afterward as the Suns went through a stretch of 4 turnovers in 5 possessions and that was AFTER they'd stopped trying to get it into the post to Plumlee. One turnover was an inbounds variety that resulted in Bledsoe and Tucker yelling at each other over who was at fault.

This is a really messed up team right now.

The Rockets lead got to 24-11 before the Rox put in their second unit. It's a shame how often the Suns starting unit isn't ready to play at tip off.

The Suns finally began to score from that point on, but refused to play defense so they couldn't really cut into the lead. IN fact, the Rockets made three more three-pointers from there and had 41 points after the quarter... to the Suns' 23.

That's bad, right?

Second quarter

The Suns began the second quarter quietly, but then Markieff Morris got open for a couple of dunks after the Rockets began to lose a bit of interest, and the Suns used that to start playing a little harder.

The Suns had pulled to within 10 on a 10-2 run in the first 1.5 minutes of the second quarter, before McHale called a timeout.  But still, after playing the entire first quarter and ending it on a three-pointer, James Harden stayed out a bit longer.

When the Suns cut the lead to 7 points, James Harden returned. And immediately intercepted an inbounds pass to create back-to-back scores for the Rockets to put the lead back to 11 within seconds.

The Rockets kept scoring from then on - often thanks to Harden's ability to get calls - and kept the Suns at bay.

The Suns only saving grace was getting the Rockets into early foul trouble. Motiejunas got his third with half the quarter to go, and the Suns got a bunch of free throws from then on by being aggressive.

When they got a fourth foul on Beverley (very questionable call), it was glorious.

But the Suns, who could have gotten the lead down to 2 and had D-Mo AND Beverley out of the game, promptly gave up a 10-2 run to let the Rockets lead get back to 11. After relentlessly driving to the rim for a bit there, the Suns got passive again and took jumpers, which missed, and allowed the Rockets to grab a couple of offensive rebounds to keep scoring plays alive.

The Suns had the game down to 6, but then Harden walked into another quarter-ending three pointer.

That's three consecutive quarters that Harden has hut buzzer beating jumpers from the left elbow against the Suns now.

Halftime = Jabbawokees (sp?) = great

Third quarter

Two Houston starters - Patrick Beverley (4) and Donatas Motiejunas (3) in foul trouble to start the quarter. The key is whether the Suns can make them pay for that.

I'm not confident.

The Suns did come out with more fire though and grabbed (most) of the Rockets missed shots while finishing on their own, and were able to pull within 3 (73-70) despite another big shot from Beverley.

The Suns tied it moments later on big three from P.J. Tucker in the corner!

And then Eric Bledsoe drove hard to the rim to get free throws, putting the Suns in the lead FINALLY. For the first time all night.

The Suns were suddenly running hard, and Plumlee really worked hard to defend the rim, giving the Suns the 77-73 lead before coming out for a rest.

Bledsoe pushed it for a 81-73 run before Houston called another timeout.

20-3 run for Suns to start the half!

But then the Rockets got their feet under them and the Suns started missing, and it was a 1-point Suns lead by the end of the quarter thanks to an Isaiah Thomas three with 1.1 left.

Fourth Quarter

James Harden (he of the miraculously healed elbow) began the quarter with a four point play to give the Rockets a 3-point lead. The Rockets made two more threes in succession, and the re-rout was on.

That's a 34-14 run, for the Rockets to take a 12-point lead.

The Suns briefly cut it to 7 on Dragic's three pointer, but Jason Terry made the Rockets' fourth three of the quarter to put it back to 10 with 4:57 to go.

The Suns scored 5 straight points (Thomas three pointer, Tucker drive in semi-transition) to cut the lead to 5.

James Harden got a couple tough buckets around another three (Bledsoe) to keep the lead at 6 with 2:50 left.


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