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Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Game Preview: Suns battle Rockets on Bright Side Night

It’s the best in the Western Conference versus the least

What: Phoenix Suns (47-10) vs. Houston Rockets (15-41)

When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM


The game tonight will be the last game the Suns will play until Thursday, February 24, as the All-Star break begins immediately once the game ends. Many players will take their retreat to their corners of the world and get some much needed rest and rejuvenation. We will see plenty of the Suns over the weekend, however, as they are sending guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul to Cleveland for the ASG, as well as the entire coaching staff.

Houston will be sending Jalen Green to Cleveland to display his high-flying dunking ability on All Star Saturday night.

This will make for an interesting psychological battle. Will the teams be entirely engaged? Will they be in senior-itis mode, having their minds wander to the vacations they have planned over the break?

If either team is not completely focused, the opposing team will surely benefit.

Bright Side Night!

It is Bright Side Night at the Footprint Center! More than 2,400 healthcare workers and first responders will be at the game thanks to YOU and your efforts. Your generosity will be felt by those experiencing the best team in the NBA. Thank you.

The bigger donors (anyone who donated 10+ tickets and can make it to the game) will be part of an exclusive panel to interview one of James Jones’ front office partners, Ryan Resch. We get a private, behind-the-scenes view into working with the best GM in the league.

Probable Starting Lineups

Uniform Tracker

Nothing crazy to see here...

Out/Injured

Phoenix:

  • Dario Saric (knee) is OUT
  • Frank Kaminsky (knee soreness) is OUT
  • Cameron Payne (wrist) is OUT
  • Landry Shamet (ability to make a shot, ankle) is OUT

Rockets:

  • Usman Garuba (wrist) is OUT

What to Watch For

The Phoenix Suns are playing the second game in as many nights, with this game occurring at home against the worst team in the Western Conference (by record) Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Thus far this season the team is 6-2 on the second night of a back-to-back and they’ve surrendered the most opposing points by far:

  • 0 days rest (6-2): 111.1 opponent points
  • 1 day rest (31-5): 105.7 opponent points
  • 2 days rest (2-1): 99.9 opponent points
  • 3+ days rest (1-2): 103.3 opponent points

The lesson to be learned from these numbers? Like most teams coming off of a back-to-back, they are tired defensively. Houston will bring the firepower. The Suns will have to be ready to extinguish those flames.

Fun Fact

The Suns enter the matchup against the Rockets having won 17 of their last 18 games and their last 6 against Houston. The last time the Rockets defeated the Suns? December 21, 2019. That being said, Houston owned Phoenix prior to that, winning 13 consecutive times between 2016 and 2019.

Ah, the Chris Paul and James Harden years…

Keys to a Suns Win

Defend the perimeter.

The Rockets might be last in the league in defensive rating and opponent points per game, but they score 108.2 points nightly, good for 19th. They take the 5th most three-pointers (38.5) and make the 8th most (13.3). Sure, their percentage is 20th (34.4%), but if we’ve learned anything this season, when teams chuck up a bunch of three’s, and they go in, the Suns can lose.

Prediction

The Suns are a focused team. They’ll stay focused entering the All-Star break and will dominate.

Suns 124, Rockets 109

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