Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns Preview

By Michael Ma

Dec 4, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns small forward P.J. Tucker (17) controls the ball during the fourth quarter as Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Keys for the Houston Rockets against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

Break-Neck Speed

This will be a game where the Rockets might want to slow things down offensively just a little bit. The Suns lead the NBA in fast-break points, and are 2nd in 3-pointers made per game, so playing at a fast tempo may benefit them. Dwight Howard must get touches in the low post, and be effective, as Miles Plumlee and Channing Frye will take their turns defending him.

Harden vs. P.J. Tucker

James Harden had one of his worst shooting nights of his career during the first meeting, which turned out to be a 97-88 Rockets loss, shooting 3 for 17, including 0 of 10 from behind the 3-point line, and finishing with 14 points. After returning from a thumb injury, Harden had one of his most efficient games of the season Saturday against the Cavs, scoring 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting.

Perimeter Play

Like the Rockets, the Suns are heavy on guards, and the ball will be on the perimeter most of the time. Patrick Beverley gets another defensive challenge guarding former Rocket Goran Dragic, while Gerald Green and Leandro Barbosa off the bench are explosive scorers in their own rights. Jeremy Lin is coming off his first career triple-double Saturday night and must stay aggressive when he’s in the game, while Chandler Parsons is looking to rebound from scoring just 7 points in 19 minutes against the Cavs.

Tip: 7 PM CT

TV: CSN Houston