Rockets News

Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns Without the Beard: Game Preview

Dec 26, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) shoots the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) shoots the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets take on the Suns, who are in Tank Mode, tonight in Phoenix. This will be a game which should see its big names rested. Finally.

Never thought I would say this, but thank God for the flu.

James Harden FINALLY gets a rest tonight, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. He’ll miss the game with flu-like symptoms and was not a part of shootaround.

James Harden doubtful with flu-like symptoms vs. Suns.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 2, 2017

James Harden has officially come down with the first-ever case of wrist flu. It’s clear that he’s been playing the last couple of games with a wrist injury, but he refused to sit, citing that the MVP should play all 82 games and that he didn’t need rest.

He was playing at a level clearly below his standards, but because of his comments, sitting would be hypocritical and potentially damaging to his MVP bid. Crazy, I know.

Trevor Ariza also will be out tonight, citing family reasons.

Trevor Ariza is out following a death in the family.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 2, 2017

This means that Sam Dekker and Troy Williams will get the nod tonight in the front court. Isaiah Taylor was also recalled today after tearing up the D-League.

Rockets starting forwards tonight: Troy Williams and Sam Dekker.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 2, 2017

Phoenix has lost 11 straight and is in clear tank mode. Or, as I like to call it, the Ping Pong Playoff Push. They’re a bottom three team currently, but a loss today could drop them to the bottom 2. Devin Booker dropped 70 points last week and that’s not even the biggest story in town these days. That’s how stacked the 2017 Draft Class is.

More from Space City Scoop

Houston’s magic number for the third seed is three. Any Jazz loss or Houston win reduces this number.

Seeing that the only playoff team left on the Rockets’ schedule is the Clippers, and the Jazz will take the Spurs, red-hot Blazers twice, and Golden State, I think Houston should be safe.

But this is the NBA, where amazing happens. Stranger things have gone down before (i.e. Rockets-Clippers Game 6 in 2015).

Tonight’s game will be a weird one for Houston, but should still be very winnable. It’s a chance for the bench unit to continue to prove themselves.

Next: Rudy T left off the HOF? How?

Tip-off is at 8 PM CT and can be seen on NBA TV as well as ROOT Sports Southwest.

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