Some say that basketball is a game of runs but that wasn’t true tonight. The Suns and the Rockets played a close game throughout with numerous lead changes and ties until the Rockets finally pulled out a win at the end.
It wasn’t a pretty game for either side offensively. The Suns shot 42.7% from the field and the Rockets 43.4%. From three the Suns hit 26.9% and the Rockets 27.5%.
The Suns out rebounded Houston 49 to 42 but committed 21 turnovers to 13 and the Rockets picked the Suns’ pockets 13 times to only 9 for the Suns. This discrepancy in turnovers and steals ultimately did the Suns in.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 29 points while James Harden had 41 for the Rockets. Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Clint Capela had a double-double of his own for Houston with a 14 and 11 night. Harden led the Rockets with 11 assists while Booker had 7 for the Suns.
Former Suns Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker played significant parts in the Rockets’ win with 18 points for House and 5 timely steals for Tucker.
The Suns score first after Houston wins the tip and go up 8-0 quickly!
The Suns looked focused and determined early but then a couple of sloppy turnovers let the Rockets close it to 13-8.
Great steal by Daniels but the Suns come up empty on the other end. Suns still lead 16-12 as time is called with 6:35 remaining.
The Suns are missing shots and turning the ball over too much but still have a 23-19 lead because Houston is doing the same so far. The Rockets are hitting more threes but the Suns are connecting on more twos.
23-23 tie as timeout is called at the 2:52 mark.
The Suns quickly pull ahead 28-23 after the timeout and the quarter ends with the Suns up 31-26.
Phoenix gets a quick two to make it a 33-26 lead but the Rockets come right back with a two of their own.
Neither team seems able to take this game over so far but the Rockets have kept gradually cutting away at the Suns lead. Suns up 39-38 with a little over half the quarter remaining. The Suns have been horrid from three so far, hitting only 2 of 11 (18.2%) to the Rockets’ 5 of 15 (33.3%).
Capela has gotten to the rim at will in the last few plays which has given Houston a 47-43 lead. Timeout Suns with 5:14 left in the half.
Ayton has had Harden on him two possessions in a row and only gotten two points out of it... from the free throw line.
The Suns tie it up 49 all on two free throws by Oubre. Both teams playing hard but lots of misses by both teams.
Finally some shots go in and the Suns have a 57-55 lead at the half.
At the Half
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half. The Suns are 46% from the field and 25% from three. Houston is at 40.9% from the field and 29.4% from three. Rebounds are dead even at 25 per team. The Rockets are 14-17 from the FT line and the Suns are 7-9.
Harden (of course) leads the Rockets with 16 points and Oubre leads the Suns with 17. Ayton has 5 rebounds for the Suns and Capela leads the Rockets with 6.
The Suns have 16 assists to just 8 for the Rockets. Turnovers and steals are basically even.
Ayton gets a putback to start the 3rd quarter but Houston strikes back quickly. So far neither team has been able to make any significant run on the other since the Suns jumped out to an 8-0 lead at the beginning of the game.
Oubre misses a wide open fastbreak dunk by trying to showboat it! K.I.S.S. that highlight reel goodbye. Game tied 67-67 as time is called at 6:56.
There has been a lot of up and down the court action without a lot of baskets being made. When they do fall for one team, the other always seems to answer which is keeping this game close.
It’s tied up at 78 with 2:51 left in the quarter.
Former Sun Danuel House Jr. now has 15 for the Rockets. Harden has 27 and Booker has 23.
The Suns lead 85-83 as the quarter ends.
It’s a slow start scoring wise this quarter but the Suns still have a two point lead, 87-85, at 9:29.
Holmes out with a knee injury but he walked off the court under his own power.
89-89 tie, the 14th tie of the game.
Time is called by the Suns after an Eric Gordon three puts Houston up by three.
Jackson ties it up with a corner three!
There’s more back and forth scoring but no easy points for either team though. Houston leads 98-96 with 3:53 left to play. P.J. Tucker now has 5 steals and Houston has 12 total to 8 for the Suns. The Suns also have 20 turnovers to 12 for the Rockets.
The Rockets have pulled out to a 102-96 lead with 2:10 to go.
The Suns are going to have to play mistake free basketball from here on to have a chance to win.
Booker and Tucker trade some words. The Suns are now within two with 1:03 to play.
House hits a trey and Houston is up 105-100 but the Suns quickly make it a 105-102 game.
Jackson has a chance to cut into the lead even more at the line but misses both free throws.
This game is over.
Suns lose 108-102.