clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Phoenix Suns looking to snap four-game losing streak against Houston Rockets

The Rockets are the last-place team in the Western Conference

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (16-11) at Houston Rockets (8-18)

When: 6:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Toyota Center, Houston

Watch: Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns (-6.5), with a 224 O/U


The Phoenix Suns face the Houston Rockets in the third meeting between the teams this season. The game will be televised by Bally Sports AZ at 6 p.m. MT.

The Suns are on a four-game losing streak, which is their longest since the 2020-21 season. Phoenix lost its last game in the second of a two-game series against the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night, 129-124, in overtime.

The Suns have lost three of the four games since starting point guard Chris Paul returned after they had an 8-3 stretch without him and a 9-5 mark overall.

Phoenix has a chance to bounce back against the last-place team in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets. The Suns won their first meeting against the Rockets Oct. 30, 124-109, and lost the second contest Dec. 2, 122-121.

Houston is led by second-year guard Jalen Green, who is averaging 21.6 points with 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. The Rockets have five other players who average double-figures in scoring: guard Kevin Porter Jr. (18.7 points per game); center Alperen Sengun (14.6 points per game); guard Eric Gordon (12.2 points per game); forward Jabari Smith Jr. (12.0 points per game) and forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (10.7 points per game).

Here are some of the notable statistics for each team provided by TeamRankings.

  • Points per game: Phoenix (No. 6, 116.1), Houston (No. 24, 110.3)
  • Assists per game: Phoenix (No. 3, 27.6), Houston (No. 29, 21.5)
  • Rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 14, 51.9), Houston (No. 4, 55.4)
  • Average scoring margin: Phoenix (No. 4, +5.8), Houston (No. 27, -6.0)
  • Offensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 3), Houston (No. 26)
  • Team shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 10, 47.7), Houston (No. 30, 44.4)
  • Effective field goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 11, 54.8), Houston (No. 28, 51.1)
  • 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 5, 38.3), Houston (No. 22, 33.9)
  • 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 18, 53.2), Houston (No. 28, 51.2)
  • Blocks per game: Phoenix (No. 8, 5.4), Houston (No. 17, 4.8)
  • Steals per game: Phoenix (No. 16, 7.1), Houston (No. 9, 7.8)
  • Turnovers per game: Phoenix (No. 6, 13.8), Houston (No. 30, 17.6)
  • Opponent points per game: Phoenix (No. 10, 111.3), Houston (No. 25, 116.2)
  • Opponent shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 16, 47.1), Houston (No. 25, 48.2)
  • Opponent effective field-goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 14, 53.5), Houston (No. 28, 56.1)
  • Opponent 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 19, 36.1), Houston (No. 25, 36.9)
  • Opponent 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 9, 53.2), Houston (No. 25, 56.6)
  • Opponent total rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 5, 49.9), Houston (No. 9, 50.1)

Likely Starting Lineups

Phoenix Suns

G Chris Paul

G Devin Booker Maybe Damion Lee?

F Torrey Craig

C Deandre Ayton

Houston Rockets

G Jalen Green

G Kevin Porter Jr.

G Eric Gordon

F Jabari Smith Jr.

C Alperen Sengun

Out/Injured

Phoenix:

  • Devin Booker (hamstring) is OUT
  • Cam Johnson (right knee) is OUT
  • Duane Washington Jr. (hip) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (chillin at home) is NOT WITH TEAM

Houston:

  • F Jae’Sean Tate (ankle) is OUT

Uniform Matchup

Courtesy of lockervision.nba.com

What to Watch For

The Suns have not lost four straight regular season games since the 2019-20 season, so this is somewhat unprecedented territory for them.

Houston is not a good team so Phoenix has a chance to snap its streak and get back to its winning ways with Paul as its starting point guard. However, the Rockets are a pesky group and are coached by Stephen Silas, who has been in the NBA for over 20 years and is still just 49 years old.

The Rockets are very young and Green has the chance to be a potential star down the road. Porter Jr. recently signed a four-year, $63 million contract extension and Houston’s guards will be dangerous for the Suns.

Houston has scored 109 and 122 points against the Suns this season, and Green had 30 points in the last meeting between the teams. Green and Porter Jr. take a high volume of shots, so it will be important for the Suns to stay disciplined defensively and know they will have to endure an effort from those guards.

Head-to-head

The Suns and the Rockets have played 225 times in their history dating back to the 1968-69 season. Phoenix leads the all-time series 116-109 and the Suns had won nine straight meetings before their latest loss to Houston.

Keys to a Suns Win

Ever heard of a defense predicated on discipline around players who shoot a bunch of shots? That’s what Tuesday’s game could look like.

Green and Porter Jr. have taken 67 of the 235 (28.1 percent) of the Rockets’ shots against the Suns this season. Green, especially, has a ton of potential and Silas lets him go get his.

That makes defensive assignments easier for Phoenix but it will have to be disciplined, too. The Rockets will have Green and Porter Jr. cash in at times but the Suns need to stay in their principles and not get frustrated. If they can stick to what they do, they will have a great chance to win. If they get frantic if Green and Porter Jr. get hot, it will be much more difficult to stop Houston’s offense.

The Suns will undoubtedly play with desperation after four straight losses and need to find a way to find, coach Monty Williams said Monday. Houston is not a good team but will play hard, so Phoenix will have to play solid in order to win.

Prediction

It’s hard to see the Suns losing five straight games in a row, especially against a Rockets team that has not been good this season. Houston is a scrappy group but Phoenix has been together for multiple seasons and it’s very possible for it to turn its losing streak around quickly.

The Suns should do just that. Phoenix wins by double digits on the road.

Suns 117, Rockets 104

When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bright Side of the Sun Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Phoenix Suns news from Bright Side of the Sun