USA TODAY Sports
The Rockets fought hard down the stretch, but couldn't grab a rebound late and fell in a disappointing result to Phoenix.
With a minute and thirteen seconds left on the clock and the Rockets trailing by six, Jared Dudley launched an ill-advised three pointer that clanked off the rim and it looked like the Rockets would have a chance to cut the lead down to a more manageable figure. Omer Asik, the league's second leading rebounder, however, was unable to keep Hamed Haddadi off the boards and the Suns got the ball back. Goran Dragic would hit a jumper twenty seconds later to put the Suns up nine, a lead they wouldn't relinquish again.
It was that kind of night for the Rockets. Hamed Haddadi may love the Dream Shake, but there is no excuse for the Iranian stud to grab 11 rebounds in a game. Outside of Omer Asik, who grabbed another 16 rebounds tonight, nobody on the floor grabbed more than 5 for the Rockets.
The Rockets two young guns at power forward, Donatas Motiejunas and Thomas Robinson, looked overmatched and undersized against a fairly unintimidating Phoenix Suns frontline. They weren't able to get their shots consistently, struggled to rebound, and generally just looked lost on the floor.
On the wings, James Harden was excellent (11-17 from the field for 38 points), and Carlos Delfino got hot late for 21 points, but it was clear that the Rockets' lack of a go-to #2 scorer killed them again. Chandler Parsons was cold from the field on a 5-16 night, and Jeremy Lin slipped-and-slided his way to a disappointing 11 point performance.
The Rockets can hide behind the "young team" excuse all they want, but as long as they continue to throw away games on the road to teams like the Suns and the Kings, it will be tough for anyone to take them seriously for the playoffs. With seeding starting to take shape, the Rockets need to get their shit together and start playing like a team every night.