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Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns: Game Preview

Dec 26, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives the ball as Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler (4) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives the ball as Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler (4) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets have won three games in a row now, and plan to push it to four tonight against the struggling Phoenix Suns, who have lost eight of their last ten.

I won’t beat around the bush for this one: there is no reason why the Houston Rockets should lose tonight. The Rox have the second best offense in the league right now, putting up over 114 points per game. They’ve been even better against the Phoenix Suns this season, scoring 125 and 131 on them in their first two meetings.

While Houston ranks second in offense, the Suns have the 29th ranked defense, only better than the lowly Brooklyn Nets. James Harden should be able to get whatever he wants tonight, and that should set the rest of the team up to score well too.

While the Suns don’t stop teams defensively very well, they do have a fairly balanced scoring attack that ranks just outside the top 10 in the league. Both Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker average 21.2 points per game, and nine players on the roster average at least 7 per contest.

The interesting thing about Phoenix’s offense, though, is that they rank dead last in the NBA in assists. They put up a very respectable mean of 106 points on a nightly basis , but only average 18.6 assists per outing. The belief in this day and age is that Hero Ball doesn’t win basketball games, but the Suns haven’t quite caught up it seems.

The Rockets, on the other hand, rank second in assists per game to go right along with their second-best offense. Nearly half of the team’s 25.5 dimes come from James Harden, though, who paces the league with 11.3 per game. That’s yet another reason why the Beard should take home the MVP, but that’s another discussion for another day. Perhaps more on this soon.

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To add insult to injury, the Rockets will suit up tonight on a full day’s rest, while the Suns played last night in Chicago. Center Alex Len didn’t play during that contest and will be rested, but the rest of Phoenix’s squad will be tired.

Eric Gordon is listed as questionable tonight after missing Houston’s previous game with a lower back tightness. Nene also sat out on Thursday, but should be good to go tonight.

To sum things up, the Houston Rockets are much better than the Phoenix Suns. The game tonight should be similar to the two teams’ previous meetings, where the Rockets win convincingly and with little drama.

Next: 3-on-3 Roundtable Discussion: Roster Shakups

Tip off tonight is at 8pm CST rather than the usual 7pm. The Rockets will honor Mario Elie, famous for the kiss of death.

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