Twas the night after Christmas
And the Suns played in Houston
But the Suns had no defense
Boy, they could have used it!
James Harden and company
Came prepared for a fight
But the Suns weren't quite focused
And were clobbered this night.
Unlike the last game the Suns played against the Rockets, the Suns fell behind early and were never able to mount any sort of challenge to the Rockets past halfway through the first quarter. The Suns shot terribly in this game and the Rockets didn't. The box score says that the Suns hit 41.6% of their shots tonight but they were shooting worse before the benches emptied in the 4th. Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 24 points but only hit 6 of 18 on the night. Brandon Knight had 21 in 24 minutes on an efficient 50% shooting night. Perhaps the biggest story for the Suns tonight was Dragan Bender getting his first career NBA double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, plus 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists in 27 minutes of court time. Jared Dudley received his first DNP-CD tonight making room for Bender’s playing time.
The Rockets were led by - guess who - James Harden with 32 points, 12 assists and 5 rebounds. As a team the Rockets hit 50.0% from the field and actually had (for them) something of an off night from three point land hitting only 15 of 43 (34.9%). Surprisingly, turnovers actually went in the Suns favor tonight as Houston committed 20 to the Suns' 17.
This game was hard to watch.
The Suns fell behind quickly but came back from being down 10-2 to make it a 12-10 game at 7:46. Unfortunately that was as close as they would get for the rest of the quarter. The Suns shot only 33.3% in the first quarter while Houston was hitting 60.0% of their shots. The Rockets led 39-23 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter things didn't get any better for the Suns. Their shooting actually got worse and they ended up shooting 32.7% for the first half. Houston didn't cool off and wound up hitting 54.5% overall and 40.9% from three.
Dragan Bender got 11 minutes of burn in the half grabbing 8 rebounds while also making 2 blocks and getting 1 steal. His shooting still leaves much to be desired as he only scored 2 points on 1-6 shooting. The Suns had 11 turnovers and committed 13 fouls.
Houston up 69-43 at the half.
The story of the second half is pretty simple. The Rockets kept hitting their shots and the Suns kept missing theirs. Down 27 points to start the 4th quarter, both teams eventually emptied their benches as the Suns failed to make any progress in the early part of the quarter. The Suns actually made up a little ground on the scoreboard after this happened but it was meaningless in the end.
This game was really over very early.
The Suns just played badly and they lost to a better team.