Those early afternoon games can wreak havoc with an NBA team’s rhythm. That certainly appeared to be the case for much of this game, with both the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets playing in the doldrums most of the contest. However, Houston emerged just long enough to put space between themselves and Phoenix, eventually easing their way to a 113-102 win.
As good teams do, the Rockets finished quarters strong, closing the 2nd quarter on an 11-4 run to take a 60-53 lead into halftime and closing the 3rd quarter on a 9-2 run to lead 92-77 entering the 4th quarter. The Suns would trail Houston by as much as 18 early in the 4th before rallying to within seven points. However, they could not narrow the gap further.
The Rockets were uncharacteristically shabby from 3, making only 11 of 37 from distance, but they compensated by drawing 49 free throw attempts, sinking 38. Phoenix, comparatively, was 8 of 33 from beyond the arc and 22 of 26 from the charity stripe — falling short of the Rockets’ pace in both categories.
Devin Booker, starting his second game as the point guard, had 31 points and 10 assists to only three turnovers. For Booker, 21 of those points and six of those assists were in the 2nd half. He received support from T.J. Warren (24 points) and Tyson Chandler (11 points, 15 rebounds) but not enough elsewhere. Josh Jackson had just two points on 0-of-13 shooting from the field.
James Harden had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists despite never quite locking in his shot. Chris Paul had 17 points for Houston, and Clint Capela added 10 points and 11 boards.
Trevor Ariza left the game early in the 1st quarter due to injury and did not return. Greg Monroe was ejected in the 3rd quarter after receiving back-to-back technical fouls.
In NBA history news, Booker helped Phoenix tie the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA record for consecutive games with a made 3-pointer (1,108) 13 seconds into the game, burying a 3 from the top of the arc.