The Suns had a tough matchup against the Rockets, being the last game in a four game road trip that included a back to back. The team came out with ferocity against Houston, leading by 11 points at one point during the first quarter. After the first quarter in which the Suns had a 31-23 lead, the Rockets started to find their groove and take control of the game, leading by as much as 13 in the third quarter. The Suns didn’t lie down for the Rockets and tied it several times but was unable to complete the comeback and take the game from Houston.
The Rockets offense was led by the duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who combined for 58 points, 15 assists and 20 rebounds. What’s really interesting with their performance is how awful they were shooting wise. The two went for 18 of 45 on shots and 4 for 20 from downtown. Harden, the main shooter of the two, went 8 of 27 and 3 of 17 from the three point line. It’s only the free throw line that saved his performance with a 15-18 performance. The Rockets did have a surprise scorer tonight with guard Ben McLemore scoring 27 for the team.
Though the team lost, the Suns had plenty of strong performances that were left on the court. Booker continue his hot streak from his game against New Orleans, scoring 35 on 11-19 shooting, five assists and six rebounds. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 19 points to go along with his five rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 13 assists and 10 points to go with 6 rebounds. Dario Saric and Mikal Bridges played well too, as the former racked up 12 rebounds and five assists and 13 points while the latter went 5 for 5 from the field for 14 points.
The Suns biggest problems, other than the Rockets, were 10 missed free throws and more than half dozen missed layups — a handful in the first half, and then three on a single fourth quarter possession. And that wasn’t all of them.
There’s a lot to be positive about the Suns but the team failed to contain a Rockets team that didn’t show that well tonight. They let the game get away from them numerous times and once they closed the gap, the Rockets were able to abuse the inside of the paint and rack up easy layups. The Suns did show they’re a tough out and won’t just bow in the face of the elite teams of the league but at a certain point, those tough losses need to turn into wins.
The Suns have a day of rest and then play the Minnesota Timberwolves at home on December 9th at 7 PM AZ time. Should be one hell of a game!