Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns game preview - December 2

N.B. Lindberg
Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets
Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns: Player to watch

With Chris Paul out, everything starts and ends with Devin Booker for the Phoenix Suns. In the 11 games since Paul has been sidelined, Booker has averaged 30.7 points on a 55.2% effective field goal percentage and 6.4 assists per game. However, what’s most impressive is that even as Booker’s usage spiked, he has cut his turnovers per game from 3.0 to 2.3. 

Booker is an unusual superstar in that he isn’t elite at any one thing. He hits a good percentage of his threes but doesn’t take all that many, he doesn’t provide consistent rim pressure, he is only okay a generating free throws, and while his playmaking is good, it isn’t game-warping. 

The secret to Booker’s game is that he is better than average just about everywhere, which makes slowing him down so difficult. Defense is a game of give and take. I take your driving lane but give you space to shoot. I take your shot but give you a step, and Booker can take whatever you give him. 

In theory, the best way to defend him is to funnel him into the paint, where he struggles to finish at an above-average clip. Unfortunately, that leads to super-efficient offense because a tough layup is still more valuable than an open mid-range jumper. 

Booker is coming off a 51-point 20 for 25 tour-de-force performance against the Bulls. When he’s in the mood, there’s really no stopping him, but thankfully, he isn’t always in the mood. The Rockets have to hope that Booker has an off-shooting night because if he doesn’t, the game could be over quickly.