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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After two humbling defeats to the Denver Nuggets, the Houston Rockets get the habanero palate cleanser of a road matchup against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns currently own the league’s best home record at 12-1, averaging a scorching 118.2 points per 100 possession. 

The Rockets, on the other hand, have been one of the league’s worst road teams at 2-11. Their 107.7 points per 100 possessions is 25th in the league, and their -9.3 road net rating is second worst to the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns have looked like inner-circle title contenders even with Chris Paul missing over half of the season, and the Rockets remain fully engaged in the race for Victor Wembanyama. These are the stats to know, player to watch, and X-factor for the Rockets and Suns’ matchup. 

Houston Rockets vs Phoenix Suns: Stats to know

The Phoenix Suns have the league’s second-best offensive rating at 117.7 and its sixth-best defensive rating at 110.2, which adds up to the second-best net rating in the NBA. They’re one of three teams who are top-ten in both defensive and offensive rating. 

The Suns' elite offense is powered by the tenth-best effective field goal percentage, the fifth-lowest turnover rate, and the sixth-best offensive rebounding percentage. The only area where they don’t excel is at generating free throws, where they’re in the bottom five. 

The Suns’ top-ten effective field goal percentage stands in the face of shot chart truthers. They’re tied for 23rd in 3-point attempt rate, are 25th in rim shots, and, as mentioned before, don’t get to the line. Instead, they take the highest percentage of their shots in the 10 to 16 foot range, the eighth-most 16 feet to the 3-point line, and the 12th-most three to ten feet from the rim. 

However, the Suns do generate the highest percentage of their 3-pointers from the corners, but by and large, the Suns run a highly effective offense because they have players capable of hitting shots. With a slightly more stringent approach to their shot diet, the Suns could push their offense even higher. 

The Suns’ offensive attack is primarily focused on the pick and roll, post ups, and spot up jumpers. They’re 15th in pick and roll ball handler frequency (16.7%) but generate the sixth most points per possession (0.94), and are sixth in pick and roll roll-man frequency (6.7%) and ninth in points per possession (1.2). When added all up, the Suns generate 1.02 points per possession on pick and roll possessions. 

The Suns are similarly effective on post ups and spot up jumpers, averaging 1.07 points per possession. However, spot ups make up 24.5% of their possessions (6th), compared to post ups at 5.9% (2nd). Outside of spot ups, post ups, and the pick and roll, the Suns' offense doesn’t stand out much and is relatively ordinary.